"You've been assigned a paper that asks you to identify a puzzle or pattern in the political world, to craft an explanation for that puzzle or pattern, and then to test that explanation against the evidence. In short, your goal here is to discover new knowledge: to figure out something that we as a society collectively didn't know before. It's a bit of a daunting idea, but at the end of the course, you'll know something that no one knew before. A little intimidating, yes, but it's also intriguing and enticing and fascinating and a bit exciting."
- Leanne C. Powner, Empirical Research and Writing: A Political Science Student's Practical Guide
There is no one database that will be good for all topics. Plan to search in multiple places, including:
Find scholarship, e-books, government documents in politics, international relations, human rights, law & more
Search a good selection of Political Science related journals
By this point in your college career, you have had a chance to search library databases. You understand that you need keywords (not sentences) when you search a database. However, using political science related keywords might be new territory.
Synonyms and related terms for the word celebrities:
actor or actress
OR search for a specific celebrity (ex. Taylor Swift)
Synonyms and related terms for political campaigns might include:
a specific campaign (presidential, local, etc)
or campaign year (2008)
To keep organized while you research, you should start a spreadsheet for yourself. Add columns for the citation (including the URL of the article), and once you read it, track the authors' research question, methods, findings and themes. You will see themes or facts emerge as you read more and more articles.
Here's an example Literature Review Matrix for you to view. Feel free to go to File -- Make a Copy or Download to access a file for you to edit.
SAGE Research Methods is a how-to database. It is not where you go to find articles, instead, it's where you can find resources to help you become a better researcher.
SAGE Research Methods has relevant information about using SPSS, conducting interviews, best practices for creating survey questions, and tons of case studies that you could model your own work on.
Find data in library databases and freely available resources across disciplines, time periods, and geographies. This guide also provides strategies for searching for data beyond the linked resources.