This guide outlines a simple but effective approach to finding information for your assignment, based on the resources described in the Political Science guide. Depending on your topic and your level of study, you may need to rearrange or review these steps.
Check the Political Science guide carefully for additional subject resources and topic guides.
It may seem obvious, but the first step is to make sure you understand the topic. Identify the main concepts or keywords in your question to help you develop a search strategy.
More on defining your topic
Use dictionaries and encyclopedias to find definitions and background information. Articles from specialized subject encyclopedias are authoritative and often substantial.
Search the Library catalogue:
More on catalogue searching
The catalogue lists the print and electronic titles of journals held by the Library. To find articles on your specific topic you will need to search the recommended databases for Political Science.
More about using databases to find an article.
The Internet can be a rich source of information but not everything will be useful or appropriate for research use. Web resources should be carefully evaluated and used in conjunction with the scholarly resources provided by the Library. Use the Advanced search features of Google or Google Scholar to restrict your search to search results from reputable sources.
More on web searching
References recommended on reading lists will already have been evaluated for quality. You will need to evaluate sources that you find yourself. Think critically about the information you find. The quality of your information will help to determine the quality of your assignment.
More on evaluating your sources
Avoid plagiarism by citing all the sources of information you use in your essay, using the Harvard style .
More on citing your sources.
Locate the Political Science 'Guide to Writing a Political Science Research Paper' on Learn, or from your tutor. Also see our writing guides page for books which have useful hints for writing on literary subjects.