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Political Science Research Guide

  • Find Background Info
  • Find Books and Films
  • Find Articles
  • Find Country Data
  • Citing Sources

Find Background Info

Background sources, such as specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries, are an essential piece of the research process. They can help you:

  • Gather information about your topic and understand the scope of the research.
  • Locate reliable sources and clarify keywords.
  • Pinpoint important authors, texts, ideas, and keywords about the research area. Knowing what the primary phrases and concepts are will help you a lot as you are searching through library databases and online sources.

Credo Reference

Credo Reference is a multi-publisher collection of high-quality reference titles covering everything from the arts to astronomy, law to literature, and science to Shakespeare. The collection currently contains over 162 titles taken from 36 different reference publishers and more titles are being added. Available titles also include a range of multimedia options including thousands of diagrams, photographs, maps, and audio files. Credo includes several books on topics in political science.

Political science books in Credo

Search Credo Reference

Find Books and Films

Print and e-books are valuable sources for academic research. They will help you to gain an overview of your topic and often contain in-depth information about the scholarship or history of research on a subject. Some books are written by single authors while others include essays or chapters by multiple scholars within a discipline. Don’t let the length of books intimidate you because you don’t need to read them from cover to cover. Look at the table of contents and index to find the sections that are relevant to your work.

Find Books Using GriffinSearch

GriffinSearch is a good starting place if you are looking for books, journal articles, films, and other materials available in the library. In addition to searching the Giovale Library catalog for physical materials, GriffinSearch finds e-books and articles from several of our databases. To get started, search by keyword or type in the title of a book here:

Academic Videos Online (AVON)

Academic Videos Online (AVON) provides unlimited access to a comprehensive selection of videos curated for the educational experience.

Videos about Politics

Search Academic Videos Online

Hathi Trust

Hathi Trust provides millions of digitized books from libraries around the world. Materials are made freely available to the extent permitted by the law.

Search Hathi Trust


WorldCat lets you search for books, articles, videos, and other material that are available in libraries worldwide. If you are doing in-depth research on a topic and are considering requesting resources through Interlibrary Loan, WorldCat can help you discover resources that might not be in the Giovale Library collection.

Search WorldCat

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary Loan is a service where patrons of one library can borrow books and other materials, and access journal articles that are owned by another library.

Explore Interlibrary Loan Materials

Utah Academic Library Consortium

Giovale Library participates in the Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC) and Westminster University students have reciprocal circulation privileges at UALC partner libraries. Each UALC library has different circulation policies, but all require a current, valid, legal photo identification and proof of current enrollment at Westminster. Some libraries may also require other verification methods, so it is recommended that you contact the library you are interested in for details.

Explore the Consortium

Popular Titles and Featured Texts

Political Thought and the Origins of the American Presidency

Political Thought and the Origins of the American Presidency

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Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government

Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government

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Democracy: A Case Study

Democracy: A Case Study

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Social Justice: Theories, Issues, and Movements

Social Justice: Theories, Issues, and Movements

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Find Articles

The Giovale Library provides access to a number of subject databases that you can use to find journal articles on topics within a specific discipline or field of study. The databases listed on this page are those that are most useful for finding research published in the field of political science.


GriffinSearch is a good starting place if you are looking for books, journal articles, films, and other material available in the library. In addition to searching the Giovale Library catalog for physical materials, GriffinSearch finds e-books and articles from several of our databases.

Search GriffinSearch


JSTOR is an interdisciplinary archive of full text articles from journals in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.  It includes retrospective coverage of publications which means that most of the articles will be 1 to 5 years old. To search for subject specific articles, after entering your search terms, scroll down to “Journal Filter” and select a subject.

Search JSTOR


Legal research collection of current and historical materials, including full-text law journals and texts; U.S. laws, regulations, cases and Congressional materials; international treaties and constitutions, foreign and comparative law materials, United Nations and League of Nations publications.

Search Hein-Online

Legal Collection (EBSCO)

Centered on the discipline of law and legal topics, Legal Collection is a collection of scholarly peer-reviewed publications including law journals, documents, and case studies. Legal Collection offers full text for the world's best law journals. This database provides information centered on the discipline of law and legal topics such as criminal justice, international law, federal law, organized crime, medical, labor & human resource law, ethics, the environment and much more.

Search Legal Collection (EBSCO)

ProQuest Search

Advanced query that searches the following databases: 

ABI/INFORM Collection‎: Business, Management and Trade - scholarly and trade journal articles, dissertations, market reports, industry reports, business cases and global and trade news. 

Academic Video Online‎: Academic Video Online makes video material available with curricular relevance: documentaries, interviews, performances, news programs and newsreels, and more. 

Coronavirus Research Database‎: A free health and medical research database for openly available content related to the COVID-19 outbreak. 
Ethnic NewsWatch‎: Ethnic and minority publications - journal articles 

GenderWatch‎: Gender studies - scholarly journal articles, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books and NGO, government and special reports. 

Global Newsstream: Global Newsstream enables users to search the most recent global news content, as well as archives which stretch back into the 1980s featuring newspapers, newswires, blogs, and news sites in active full- text format. 

ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times‎   (1851 - 2017)   

Publicly Available Content Database: Designed to complement other databases and collections, this database brings together or links to full text for publicly available content from a number of different sources from around the world. 

Search ProQuest Search 

Sources by Region

Latin America

Fuente Académica (EBSCO)

Fuente Académica is a unique collection of scholarly academic journals from renowned Latin America, South American, and Spanish publishers. This database provides full text and PDFs for more than 100 scholarly Spanish language journals.

Search Fuente Académica (EBSCO)

Red de Revistas Científicas de América Latina, El Caribe, España, y Portugal (Redalyc)

Open access database that provides full text access to journals about Latin America in the social sciences and the humanities. Mainly published in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. Created by the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México.

Search Redalyc

Latin America Open Archives Portal (LAOAP)

"The Latin America Open Archives Portal is a project of the Latin Americanist Research Resources Project—LARRP, in collaboration with the Latin America Network Information Center—LANIC, to improve access to social sciences grey literature produced in Latin America."

Search LAOAP

SCIELO: Scientific Electronic Library Online

Open access social science and scientific journals from Latin America.


Middle East

Middle East—Topics & Arguments

"Middle East—Topics & Arguments (META) is an international interdisciplinary open access journal. It is published half-yearly by the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS) at the Philipps-Universität Marburg."

Search META

University of Cambridge Islamic Manuscripts

Online archive of Islamic manuscripts.

Search the University of Cambridge Islamic Manuscripts

Sociedad de Estudios Iranios y Turanios

"The aim of Sociedad de Estudios Iranios y Turanios is to promote and improve the study of the Iranian and Turanian linguistics, history, culture, etc."

Search Sociedad de Estudios Iranios y Turanios


African Studies Abstracts Online

The open access catalog of the African Studies Center Library at the University of Leiden (Holland) is a database of articles in journals and books. Full text is not available, but journals cited may be available in Griffin Search or via ILL.

Search African Studies Abstracts Online

African Studies Thesaurus

"The African Studies Thesaurus is developed and maintained by staff at the library of the African Studies Centre Leiden." It includes "the names of countries and regions, ethnic groups, African languages, African policies, and political parties in Africa, British English is preferred, but American-English variants are included as non-preferred terms."

Search the African Studies Thesaurus

African Online Digital Library

The African Online Digital Library (AODL) is a portal to multimedia collections about Africa. MATRIX, in cooperation with the African Studies Center at Michigan State University, is partnering with universities and cultural heritage organizations in Africa to build this resource.

Search the African Online Digital Library

16th–Early 20th Century Maps of Africa

Digital copies of antique maps from the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern University.

Search 16th–Early 20th Century Maps of Africa


The Asia-Pacific Journal

Peer reviewed, open access journal that focuses on the Asia-Pacific region.

Search the Asia-Pacific Journal

Japanese Institutional Repositories Online

Eighty-four academic institutions participated in this repository venture. It contains theses, dissertation, research papers, departmental bulletin papers, and journal articles. Searchable in English and Japanese.

Search the Japanese Institutional Repositories

Find Country Data

You may need up-to-date data on the countries you are studying. Below are sources that will provide you with reliable data on countries from around the world.

CIA World Factbook

Provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities.

Search the CIA World Factbook

BBC News Country Profiles

Guide to history, politics, and economic background of countries. Included are basic statistics, profiles of governmental leaders, and other relevant data. They also include audio and video clips from the BBC archive.

Search BCC News

U.S. Census Bureau

Provides access to Census Bureau services, including decennial census, community facts, economic census, population estimates, and more.

Search U.S. Census Bureau

Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets

Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets (formerly known as Background Noise) include facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of independent states, some dependencies, and areas of special sovereignty. These fact sheets are created and updated by the US State Department of State.

Search Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets

Citing Sources

Citation Resources

Properly citing your sources shows that you’ve done research to become knowledgeable about your topic and helps you avoid plagiarism. Explore citation resources to learn how to correctly cite sources based on style.

Need help with your research?

Get in touch with:

Spencer DeVilbiss headshot

Spencer DeVilbiss

Liaison Librarian for Political Science

(801) 832-2255

Schedule a Consultation

Librarians are happy to answer questions via email, phone, or in-person.

Contact Spencer with a question or to schedule a research help appointment.

Faculty: Contact Spencer to suggest edits to this research guide.

Chat with a Librarian

Use the chat box below to ask the library staff a question. If chat is unavailable or we don’t respond quickly, please use the email form on our Get Research Help page and a library staff member will contact you as soon as we are available.