your friendly reference/instructional librarian, and I'm here
to help you!
How to get in touch with me:
In my office, BL129 (best to
make an appointment)
By IM: paisleyr on Yahoo
or on Facebook
At the Research Services
Desk: Monday 8-10am, Wednesday 8-10am, Thursday 10-12pm,
Friday 8-10am. Admittedly, these are early. If
you want to email me to make an appointment at a more
reasonable afternoon time, feel free!
can also get help 24 hours a day/7 days a week through the
Maryland AskUsNow chat reference service:
Reference sources are a good place
to start your research. What is a reference source? A
reference source is something you consult for a specific piece
of information, not something you read from cover to cover.
Reference sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries,
handbooks, thesauri, atlases, almanacs, directories, etc.
Blackwell Library's reference collection is located on the main
floor. Consult the
Congress Classification outline to see the call number area
for your topic.
can't I just use Wikipedia, you ask? Well, anybody and their
brother can get on Wikipedia and write whatever they want, for
starters! Plus, there are tons of more reliable, authoritative
sources out there for you to use. And, I just can't resist
sharing my favorite Colbert Report clip about the downfalls of
Wikipedia. View it here (and please ignore the brief commercial
at the beginning!):
Brainstorming Keywords / Finding Books
It's very important to
remember that our catalog and databases do not search like
Google searches! It will not work to type in a long
phrase with lots of articles and prepositions. So,
here are some helpful keyword hints:
Identify simple one or
two-word concepts in your topic.
Example: Topic: How are race relations
impacted by rap or hip hop music?
Simple concepts: race, relations, rap, hip
Search your simple
concepts with the word AND. Example: Race AND rap
AND hip hop
Think of synonyms for
your concepts. Example: Instead of race relations,
you might try
racism, minorities, African
Americans, social aspects.
Try lots of different
combinations of your search terms! You are unlikely to
what you want just by doing one search!
Come to the Research
Services desk for help if you get stuck!
Find books in Blackwell Library
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!
Find books from other USMAI
You can also borrow books from any
of the USMAI affiliations 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
This tutorial shows you how it's done!
Finding Articles / Find It Button
Ask yourself if you need
scholarly sources or popular sources for your assignment.
Many times, your professor will insist on scholarly sources.
What does that mean? Find out using this
Now, keep in
mind, these links will only work from on campus. From off
campus, you must use
Research Port (watch
this tutorial to find out how!)
Here are some databases
that may be useful for topics in Political Science:
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
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
- Congressional Quarterly's magazine on
government, commerce and politics.
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 Complete, so the interface will look
familiar. There are some full-text articles; for
others, use the FindIt button.
*These EBSCO databases can be searched simultaneously!
Find out how!
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
Links you to the library
catalog when we have the item you want in print or
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
lets you see the FIND IT BUTTON in action!
gives you a little insight about Interlibrary Loan!
Citing your Work
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.
guide helps students understand what plagiarism is and how to
For citation help, check out the SU's
Citation Style Guide.
Also check out the
Political Science Paper Documentation Guide.
Everyone's Favorite: Statistics! And, even more fun, Government Info!
Statistics can be really tricky to
track down...so if you are looking for something specific,
let me know and I will help! Here are some websites that
may have what you're looking for!
There are other
good sources of data on the web in addition to the ones I've
listed. Always make sure that internet resources are
appropriate for your project. If you have any doubts,
check out the criteria listed
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.