Salisbury University Libraries

 

Holloway Hall

POSC101 Research Guide

Getting Help

Hi, I'm Krista Knapp, your friendly research/instructional librarian, and I'm here to help you!

How to get help:

  • In my office, BL128 (best to make an appointment)

  • By phone: 410-677-0118

  • By email: kmknapp@salisbury.edu

  • By IM, send a message to blackwellref via yahoo, gtalk, AIM or MSN during regular Research Desk hours.

  • At the Research Services Desk, open from 10am-10pm during the week

Finding Books

Find books in Blackwell Library using our online library catalog.  Books in our library are arranged using Library of Congress Classification.  The books you can check out are located on the second floor of the library.  If you ever have trouble finding a book you want, PLEASE ask for help at the Research Desk!

You can also borrow books from any of the USMAI libraries by selecting the "choose campus" link at the top of the catalog page and then selecting "USMAI All Campuses."  When you find a book you want that is not in Blackwell, click the "request" button and use your ID number to login.  You can have the book delivered to Blackwell within 3 or 4 days.
This tutorial shows you how it's done!

Finding Articles

Why should you use the library databases and not Google to find articles?

Most of the time, scholarly publications are not available to the general public, nor are they available for free on the internet.  Individuals or organizations (such as a library) subscribe to these publications.  Because subscriptions are expensive, many choose to access this content through libraries. 

Often, content from scholarly journals is indexed in databases that the library subscribes to.  The content is on the web, but it is not accessible unless you are affiliated with the institution that is subscribing.  It isn’t the same thing as just finding a website through a regular Google search.  Sometimes the full text of the article is available through the database; other times it is only a citation to the article and you will need to find the print version of the article in the library or order the article through interlibrary loan if we don’t subscribe to it.

So, basically what I'm saying is that the only way you can access this scholarly information for free is by using the library databases! 

Scholarly v. Popular Sources

Here are the basics: (Check out this handy dandy chart for more information!)

Popular Magazines/Newspapers:

  • glossy, pretty pages with lots of advertisements and pictures

  • written by hired reporters for a general audience

  • short, easily read articles

Scholarly Journals:

  • somewhat dull looking - very few pictures or advertisements

  • written by experts in the field and reviewed by other scholars before publication

  • long articles with citations and bibliographies at the end

Here are some databases that may be useful for topics in Political Science:
(Note: You will be asked to log in with your Gull Card barcode number if you are off campus.)

  • Academic Search Complete - a multidisciplinary database containing both scholarly and popular sources, many of which have full-text available.  ASP is a good place to start your research.  Use the FindIt button to locate articles that are not available full-text.
     
  • Lexis-Nexis Academic - a great source for full-text world news and legal information.
     
  • National Newspapers - a source of U.S. news from major papers including The New York Times and The Washington Post
     
  • JSTOR Arts & Sciences - a huge, wonderful database of scholarly communication from a wide variety of disciplines, including Political Science.  All of these sources are full-text, but the newest documents are 3-5 years old.
     
  • CQ Weekly - Congressional Quarterly's magazine on government, commerce and politics.
     
  • CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online) - full-text access to journal articles, working papers and case studies in International Affairs from Columbia University Press.
     
  • America: History and Life  - U.S. and Canadian historical sources.  Use the FindIt button to locate articles that are not available full-text.
     
  • Social Sciences Abstracts - covers all the social sciences.  It's an EBSCO database, same as Academic Search Premier, so the interface will look familiar.  There are some full-text articles; for others, use the FindIt button.

Alternative on campus database access

Find It Button

  WHAT DOES THAT CUTE LITTLE FIND IT BUTTON DO, ANYWAY?

It's a bit like magic, really.  The Find It button does three things:

  • Looks in all of our databases to see if the document you want is available full-text in another of our databases.  If so, it links you to it!

  • Links you to the library catalog when we have the item you want in print or microform.

  • Links you to ILLiad (interlibrary loan) so you can borrow the item from another library if we don't have access electronically or in print.

The Find It button is YOUR FRIEND!!!

This tutorial lets you see the FIND IT BUTTON in action!

AND, this tutorial gives you a little insight about Interlibrary Loan!

Evaluating Websites

Always make sure that internet resources are appropriate for your project.  If you have any doubts, check out the criteria listed on this website.

If the link above doesn't make things crystal clear, and you're still questioning the appropriateness of a website, please check with your professor or a librarian.

Citing your Work

Plagiarism is not cool.  Of course you want to make sure you give proper credit to any source that you use to write your papers, whether you directly quote or paraphrase. 
This guide helps students understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it:

For citation help, check out the SU's Citation Style Guide.  Also check out the Political Science Department's Paper Documentation Guide. And, I'm very fond of the Online Writing Lab from Purdue University.


 
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The librarian liaison to Political Science is Gaylord Robb,
ggrobb@salisbury.edu | 410-677-0118