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Political Science Honors and Graduate Guide

Introduction

Searching at this stage of the digital evolution is not yet a seamless process. Not everything is digitized. Whatever is digitized is not necessarily in a standard format or findable by any one search interface. These are the the major search gateways commonly used at Emory:  DiscoverEDatabases@EmoryWorldCat, and the Googles (Google Web, Google Book, Google Scholar).

Searching is one step in most disciplinary research practices.  It usually entails concurrent processes like evaluating and capturing your results.  This page centers on locating resources, sometimes called "information literacy" or "information competency."

Getting Started

 Keep a Search Journal.  It is easy to lose track of what searches worked or didn't work. 

Use DiscoverE (primary tab) or WorldCat to find books. Google Books often publishes sections of works still in copyright, esp. introductory matter, that can often help determine if the work is worth pursuing in the library. Use DiscoverE to Browse shelves (you can also go to the stacks and physically browse)!

Check out Oxford Handbooks in Political Science to start familiarizing yourself with the broader theoretical literature.

Tools and Tips Searching for Literature

Install the Firefox extension LibX to search DiscoverEWorldCat by simply highlighting and right-clicking on the title, author, ISBN or keyword in any web page. Useful to find books and articles on the fly, as well as tables of contents, synopses and reviews in Google from a DiscoverE record. LibX is also useful for adding the Emory proxy URL to access authorized Emory electronic resources.

Use bibliographies from articles to locate related titles--note that not all bibliographies are created equal, so be flexible!  Consider the variety of potential resources used by an author.  If not, visit (online) ILL.

Follow citation links or "related record" links if available in a search result from a database.  See the Citation Tracking guide.

Unlock the "deep" structure of Database search interfaces. Checking for the standard features like controlled vocabulary, boolean operators, limiters and wildcard characters should help you familiarize yourself with a new database quickly.

Evaluate your results: For guidance, see UC Berkeley's Critical Evaluation of Resources, Cornell's Critically Analyzing Information Sources, or Cornell's Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages.

E Books

We have numerous ebooks, but access and use can vary remarkably upon the publisher or provider; some ebooks require “checking out” or downloading of special software such as “Adobe Digital Editions.”  Others such as those in JSTOR have no restrictions.  For a guide, see Emory’s ebook guide (also a tab on the research guide).

Citation Management

Use bibliographic software like Zotero or Endnote to capture print or online book and journal citations or full-text articles and to automatically generate footnotes and reference lists.  You can use Zotero also to annotate your readings or share your bibliographies online with other researchers.  Another good popular option for PDF and citation management is Mendeley.

Archival Research

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