Welcome! The purpose of this guide is to offer research help with a focus on resources that will be particularly useful to you as you navigate your Political Science coursework and research.
Remember throughout your time at W&J, the library is here to help! Some frequent ways that we help Political Science students are in helping them find resources for their research project (including datasets), refining search strategies, and figuring out the most appropriate way to cite their sources.
Research is more than just searching for an answer and reporting that answer. It's an iterative process of asking questions, understanding how others have approached similar questions, and eventually drawing your own conclusions on what you believe the answer to be. In Political Science, research can take a variety of forms from analyzing and engaging with data/observations collected by others to understanding the theory and context surrounding a particular event or phenomenon by engaging with the published scholarly conversation. If this feels overwhelming, don't be afraid to ask for help from a librarian or your professor!
Gaining background information on a topic is a critical first step in the research process. Background information helps you learn more about your topic, identify important facts related to your topic (keywords, dates, events, history, and names and organizations), refine your topic, and find additional sources of information through bibliographies and works cited pages.
You might do this by conducting a Google search or going to Wikipedia and reading up on a subject. Below are some reference resources from the library that can also help you familiarize yourself with your topic.