POSC Subject Gateway

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Sara Nixon's Political Science Resources Pages more information

The Subject Gateway that you are viewing is geared toward POSC103 American Government classes where students are often required to conduct research on government policy regarding an issue.  For more specific resources on political science courses see this link.  Here, you will find resources that may also be helpful for issue research including American Foreign Policy, Interest Groups & Public Policy, and Environmental  Policy, but also on Congress, Presidents & Presidency, and Political Parties & Elections. 

This link also leads to resources on International Relations including Country Information, General IR Sources, World Poverty & Development, Human/Women's Rights, World Regional Sources and International Law.

arrow pointing rightConcepts & Definitions:
Sage Knowledge more information

Sage Reference Online is a searchable collection of over 60 encyclopedias and reference works covering many subjects, including political science. One search box allows you to search through all the encyclopedias for articles on your topic.  Articles range in length from a page to several pages and each article is accompanied by a list of further readings. 

Some of the reference works related to politics include:

  • 21st Century Political Science: A Reference Handbook
  • Encyclopedia of U.S. Campaigns, Elections, and Electoral Behavior
  • Encyclopedia of Political Communication
  • Encyclopedia of Governance
  • Encyclopedia of United States National Security
Encyclopedia of Political Science more information

CQ Press publication that presents the ideas, concepts, and frameworks accompanying national and international politics.

Glossary of US Politics and Government more information

Provides short definitions of terms related to politics.

Routledge Dictionary Of Politics more information

International and national political terms.

Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought more information

Articles on political concepts and theorists such as Hobbes and Locke.

Fifty Major Political Thinkers more information

Focus on historical figures from Plato, up to 20th century figures such as Habermas.

arrow pointing rightArticles, Reports & Transcripts:
Academic Search Premier (EBSCO) more information

Indexes journals in a variety of subjects, and is a good source for finding relevant articles on topics regarding politics at home and abroad, especially within the last 20 +  years.  Many articles from scholarly, popular news magazines, and the New York Times are available in full text either through this database or by clicking on the button.   For a more comprehensive search, click on the CHOOSE DATABASES link and select Social Sciences Abstracts, as well, which will expand your search, covering additional sources.  Include Communication & Mass Media Complete for any research on the media and politics. Choose America: History & Life for historical perspective on U.S. politics and  Historical Abstracts for historical research on international relations.

CQ Researcher more information

The CQ Researcher reports a current social issue each week. Reports are about 20 pages long and provide background information, important points to consider, charts and graphs, and a source list for further reading. Some public policy issues covered include: immigration and health reform, gays in the military, stem cell research, gender pay gap, affirmative action, and sexual harassment.

LexisNexis Academic: News Search more information

Full text source for U.S. (regional,  state and local) and international news, media transcripts, and blogs. Political transcripts include the Federal News Service, FDCH News Service and Capitol Report and Presidential Campaign Press Materials. These transcripts include speeches by government officials and visiting dignitaries on various topics. LexisNexis is a good place to find current news covering politcal events and national policy issues in the U.S. from many different sources inside and outside of the U.S.

Find specific news sources to search by geographic location and type, by clicking on the SOURCES tab on the menu bar on the left of the screen.

National Newspapers more information

Provides full text of newspapers most from 1990 to date including The Sun (Baltimore), Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

  • To limit a search to The Sun (Baltimore), from the main search screen, click on select multiple databases next to the words News - Proquest Newspapers, deselect Proquest Newspapers,select The Sun.
  • To search multiple papers, such as The Sun (Baltimore) and the Washington Post, from the main search screen, click on the words select multiple databases. Uncheck Proquest Newspapers, check off the Washington Post and The Sun. Click on Continue and type in your search topic.
  • Click on select multiple databases to search historical papers including:
    • Sun (Baltimore) 1837 -1985
    • New York Times 1851 - 2007
    • 5 African American newspapers ranging in date from 1910 - 2007 from Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York (Amsterdam), and Pittsburgh
LexisNexis Academic: Law Reviews more information

Law reviews are scholarly journals edited by law students, featuring analysis of case law and other legal issues, such as public policy. It is important to know that these articles will be focusing on  legal rather than polical/social aspects of policy.

It is usually helpful to know names of specific laws and cases before embarking on a law review search. To focus your results, trather than searching "Everywhere" for your words,  try limiting your search to words in "Title"  or "At least 5 occurences."

Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) more information
The HSDL offers an extensive collection of homeland security policy and strategy related documents. The Library provides quick access to important U.S. policy documents, presidential directives, and national strategy documents as well as specialized resources such as theses and reports from various universities, organizations and local and state agencies.
arrow pointing rightLegislative History:
LLSDC Legislative Source Book more information

This guide that  is on the website of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, DC offers finding aids for locating current legislation, including titles such as, Federal Legislative History Research: A Practitioner's Guide, Internet and Online Sources of U.S. Legislative and Regulatory Information, and links to Web sites of State Legislatures, State Laws and State Regulations.

Open CRS: Congressional Research Reports more information

CRS Reports are prepared by staff of the Library of Congress Congressional Research Service and are intended to provide an overview of the legislative topics being addressed by the U.S. Congress. They are meant to provide fact-rich, unbiased, non-technical background information on policy issues.

This Web site allows keyword searching of and provides summaries for over 12,600 CRS Reports that are available through various repositories sponsored by organizations such as National Council on Science and the Environment, Federation of American Scientists, and Thurgood Marshall Law Library at University of Maryland School of Law.

zFACTS is another service that provides access to additional research reports.
University of North Texas Libraries includes CRS reports back to 1990.

Thomas: Legislative Information on the Internet (Library of Congress) more information
  • Library of Congress's gateway to current legislators & legislation
  • For a guide to using Thomas see About THOMAS
  • To check sponsors of bills, Browse Bills by Sponsor on the home page of Thomas
  • Access Roll Call Votes for House and Senate the from 101st Cong. (1989) to current
  • To check for floor activity by member and by subject of bill, search the Congressional Record[101st Cong. to current]
  • To trace the legislative history of a bill, search Bill Summary & Status [93rd Cong. to current]
Roll Call Online: The Newspaper of Capitol Hill more information
  • Includes news features, commentary, election previews, policy briefings, and a review of legislative sessions.
  • Find how a member of Congress voted on a bill in the current session by entering a zipcode or or previous sessions by entering member's name and a subject, if desired.
Congressional Quarterly Almanac more information
  • Available in print only - JK8 C6 - Latest 5 yrs in Reference Stacks, earlier in General Stacks
  • Published annually
  • Look here for background information on older legislation back to 1964
arrow pointing rightPolitical News, including Elections:
RealClear Politics more information
  • Political commentary, news, polls, and election analysis pulled from columns, magazine articles, and the Web
  • Particularly useful during an election year for coverage of candidates running for Congress with links to many reputable information sources
Public Agenda more information
  • Nonpartisan briefing on policy issues, supplemented by polling data, and a list of concerned PACS and advocacy groups
  • Click on Issue Guides tab┬áfor information on "hot" issues including facts, trends & statistics, pros & cons, major players, and public opinion
Pew Center on the States more information
  • Up-to-date news stories on "hot" issues in state policy and politics
  • Searchable by state or by issues such as cities, economy, election administration, families, federal impact, health, housing, public safety, retirement, revenue & spending, and technology
  • Use the search feature for specific topics such as immigration, same-sex marriage, death penalty, and stem cell research 
  • Legislative Review  section provides summaries of current activity in state legislatures on issues
  • Visit the State Resources section for additional information sources by state 
arrow pointing rightStatistics & Datasets
ICPSR: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research more information
  • Check the TU entry page for information on ICPSR, including setting up an account
  • Provides a gateway to more than 500,000 downloadable digital files of statistical data
  • Click on Find and Analyze Data to search by keyword or browse by topic or series
  • Search results may be sorted by relevancy, alphabetically, release date, or time period
  • Some of the Thematic Collections include: aging; criminal justice; demographic data; international; race & ethnicity; and terrorism


Pew Research Center more information

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan research center that studies national and international issues including religion, politics, technology, journalism, economics, and communities

Gallup Poll more information

Website with national public opinion poll data on cultural, political, and economic topics

FedStats more information

A one-stop location for statistics produced by 70+ federal agencies.

American Factfinder (U.S. Census Bureau) more information

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau on the economy, society, and population of the U.S. at local, state, and national levels. This site links to various sets of statistics, historical to 2010.

POSC Subject Gateway / Albert S. Cook Library
Last revised: February 24, 2014