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Political Science Librarian
In the library: The Library User Assistance Desk to your immediate left as you enter the library is a good place to start.
By email: Email the librarian responsible for your faculty for a reply during regular working hours.
By telephone: 705-675-4803, or toll free at 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2
For Distance Education students: Telephone: 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2 or email: Distance_l@laurentian.ca
Choosing and Defining a Research Topic
o Select a topic that interests you and get a brief overview starting with general reference resources (encyclopedias, bibliographies, and dictionaries)
o Get a general understanding of special terminology, major concepts, prominent figures, and experts associated with your topic
o Select key words, concepts, and themes that frequently appear in your area of study
o From these selections, begin to form a thesis statement or research question
o For each of your keywords and concepts, try to think of synonyms that you could use to start searching the catalogue and databases
o Remember that online searching is often trial and error and may take some time to refine
Related Encyclopedias for Political Science
Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives: This online encyclopedia represents interdisciplinary perspectives on law from sociology, criminology, cultural anthropology, political science, social psychology, and economics. This resource includes entries that are historical, comparative, topical, thematic, and methodological. It also presents European, Latin American, Asian, African, and Australasian developments and examines how and why legal systems grow and change, how and why they respond to their environment. (online)
International Encyclopedia of Civil Society: This online encyclopedia provides summaries of concepts and theories, definitions of terms, biographical entries, and organizational profiles. It will also serve as a guide to sources of information on social capital, philanthropy and nonprofits in different parts of the world, and across cultures and historical periods. (online)
Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History: This online encyclopedia traces the history of political institutions, parties, and founding documents. It explains and analyses ideas, philosophies, and movements that have shaped American politics. Furthermore, it presents the political history and influence of geographic regions and how the roles of ethnic, racial, and religious groups shape the political process. It also examines recurring issues that shape political campaigns and policy, from class, gender, and race to crime, education, taxation, voting, welfare, and much more. (online)
Encyclopedias for Political Science
Encyclopedia of Politics: The Left and the Right: This online reference resource contains over 450 articles on individuals, movements, political parties, and ideological principles, with those usually thought of as left in the left-hand volume (Volume 1), and those considered on the right in the right-hand volume (Volume 2). Key Themes include: Countries/Regions, “Isms”, Laws, Political Issues. Political Movements, Political Parties, and People. (online)
Encyclopedia of Political Theory: This online encyclopedia examines the global landscape of all key political theories and the theorists, presenting them in the context needed to understand their strengths and weaknesses. It also provides concise, to-the-point definitions of key concepts, ideas, schools, and figures. Coverage includes: Ancient Theory, Medieval Theory, Early Modern Theory, Enlightenment, Modern Theory, Constitutionalism, Liberalism, Critical Theory, Continental Theory, Empirical Theory, Comparative Political Thought, and many others. (online)
International Encyclopedia of Political Science: This online encyclopedia provides a comprehensive picture of all aspects of political life, recognizing the theoretical and cultural pluralism of approaches and including findings from international perspectives. This resource covers every field of politics, from political theory and methodology to political sociology, comparative politics, public policies, and international relations. (online)
Why Use Books?
- Books are extremely valuable resources when doing in-depth research on a topic! Authors have hundreds of pages to give detailed explanations and background information surrounding the various facets of your research interest.
- Using this kind of in-depth information will make it easier to form a research question or thesis statement (or even spark your inspiration)
- The bibliographies found in books are extensive, and will point you to other resources to add to your own resource list.
- Remember: scholars write journal articles under the assumption that you already have a relatively thorough understanding of the topic – this means that you will likely not find the foundational information needed for your topic in the beginning stages of your research process. In this sense, books become indispensable
Our Library Catalogue is the essential tool for finding Laurentian's books or e-books. You can also use the catalogue to search for journals and government publications. For students at Laurentian@Barrie, remember to check the Georgian College Catalogue for print books.
You can search the catalogue by:
• Journal Title
• Call number
Note: Not all e-books are catalogued in our catalogue. We encourage you to search the sources below to access more e-books in the collection
• Scholars Portal Ebooks (over 250,000 ebooks in multiple subject areas. Select Full Text Onlyto find only those ebooks with full text)
• Ebook Central (close to 40,000 ebooks in multiple subject areas)
Recommended books on research and writing
A Student's guide for writing in political science. 1997. Print.
Political science student writer's manual. 2006. Print.
For Laurentian students at the Barrie campus, be sure to check out these titles, located in print in the library:
Properly citing your sources is an extremely valuable and necessary skill when completing your research. Below are a few resources to help you correctly format your bibliography according to your professor's preference.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab remains a standard for students in completing bibliographies