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POLS: Political Science: Articles in Databases

A guide to research and information sources in political science.

Databases are online collections of information. They usually include a variety of sources, but are especially useful for finding articles from newspapers, magazines, and journals.

Use this page to see the best library and open-access databases for political science topics and assignments, learn suggested search strategies, see highlighted publications from the library's collection, and find out what to do if the library doesn't have an article that you need.

Suggested Databases for Political Science Research

Library Databases

Find background information, topic overviews, and basic information or facts at the beginning of your research with these:
Find information about controversial topics, social issues, and current events in these:
For historical information or events, you could use:
The next suggestions are most useful for newspaper, magazine, and peer-reviewed, scholarly research articles, but they may include other sources as well:
For legal information, case law, legislation, and news articles:

Since politics is a very diverse field of study that often connects with other subjects, not all of the library databases above may be helpful for your particular topic. If your topic involves other areas of study like health, education, or science, for example, you can find databases that may be a better match on our A-Z Databases list, using the subjects filter.

EBSCO Discovery Service

You can search across the library's catalog, individual databases, and collections with a single search using this tool, but be sure to choose your search keywords and filters carefully. This is a good option if your topic crosses into a few areas of study. 

View Search Demonstrations

You can find video tutorials of search demonstrations for our databases on the NCC Libraries YouTube channelMany databases have help pages through their official websites as well. An example of this is EBSCO Discovery Service. There may be additional video tutorials available on YouTube if you search for the database's name. 

Other Online Databases

Open Access

Research publications and articles within open access collections or databases are available to the public online, free of charge, to read, download, or share with little to no copyright and licensing restrictions.

Mixed Access

Results in these collections may include the full-text or just abstracts and citations of articles depending on availability and access. If you only find an abstract or citation here, enlist a librarian to help you find the full article or source. 

Search Strategies

Search Keywords

Choosing the right search words or keywords or combination of keywords can help you find the most useful sources for your topic quickly. 

In the library databases, the more specific you can be with your search, the better. Keyword searches here look for any instance of that word in the title, summary, publication information, or full-text of articles and information sources. Being precise and exact with your search keywords makes a difference. Searching for something general like POLITICS is likely to give you too many results.

Ask yourself, what do you want to know about your topic? Is there a certain group of people or even a location that you can concentrate on? A better search strategy would be something like: "VOTER IDENTIFICATION LAWS" and "SUPREME COURT"


Search Filters

Databases offer provide search filters that can help sift through your results, but they don't always use the same labels. If you see a Full-Text or Content I Can Access filter option, be sure to apply that, so that you can access and read the full article immediately. You may also have the choice to check the Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) option, which might be necessary if your instructor requires you to find scholarly articles. Other search filters, like Publication Date or Source Type, might also help. Depending on the database you are using, there may be other search filters that are helpful for your needs. 

Highlighted Publications within the Library Databases

When the library doesn't have access to an article you want...

You may discover an article that would be useful for your topic, only to find that the library does not have full-text access to it through our databases. If that happens, you can submit an interlibrary loan request, and we will see if another library with access to full-text of that article is willing to share it with us. Most often, the articles will be shared with you by email, but they may take 2-3 days to arrive. Work with a librarian if you need help identifying books to interlibrary loan or assistance with the request.  

Finding Political Science Publications

You can browse all the online periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) the library subscribes to using the Publication Finder tool. Look under the Political Science or Politics & Government discipline areas. If you know the title of a periodical and want to see if we have access to it, you can also search for it by name.

Once you find a periodical you're interested in, browse all the available issues and articles or use the search within feature to look for ones on specific topics published in that title. 

Watch our video tutorial for a search demonstration of Publication Finder here: