Political Science 440: Introduction

Senior Seminar in Comparative Politics: The Syrian Maelstrom
Professor: Michael MacDonald
Fall 2017

About this guide

This guide provides search strategies and links to library resources  for  PSCI 440: Senior Seminar in Comparative Politics: The Syrian Maelstrom.   If you need assistance refining your search strategy and identifying the most adequate research tools, you can schedule an appointment with the librarian for this course.

Tips to Get Started

  1. Think about the sources you want to find
    • Who is speaking/writing/creating data about your topic (who are the voices that you want to hear)?
    • Where are these voices expressed (in what type of media, format, source)?
    • Classify these sources into primary sources and secondary sources
    • What are some of the obstacles to finding these sources?
  2. Start with what you already have
    • use the notes and bibliographies from class readings
    • trace sources to see their place in the scholarly discourse
  3. Start researching
    • Use library databases for subscribed materials
    • Use Google for freely available sources (e.g. from governmental and international agencies)
  4. Research is an iterative process, not a straight line
    • Keep track of new ideas, questions and insights as they occur to you
    • Refine your questions as you find sources, then return to the databases with an adjusted search strategy
    • Keep a Research Log to document your search process.
    • Don't drown in research -- doing research is not the same as writing your paper
    • Start writing early - this will help you identify the areas where you need more research. Consult the guide: Tips for Writing a Successful Paper with Sources
  5. Consult with your professor and your librarian as you go


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Tath Haver