Political Science Research Guide


"The Gerry Mander" from New York Public Library Digital Collections

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective information research in political science.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Personal Librarian: 
Jennie Correia
103 LeFrak Center, Barnard Hall

Reference Sources
Journal Articles
News Sources
Data, Stats & Polls 
U.S. Government Info
International Relations Info
Writing & Citing

Finding Background Information - Reference Sources

Consult scholarly reference sources to get an overview of a topic, an introduction to a theory, definitions to discipline-specific terms, and more.

Finding Books

Finding Journal Articles & Other Political Science Literature - Recommended Databases

  • Annual Review of Political Science is great for getting comprehensive summaries of research on specific topics in the field. Look at the bibliographies to lead you to the original works cited.
  • CIAO: Columbia International Affairs Online is a source for articles, policy briefs, and working papers on theory and research in international affairs.
  • GenderWatch includes full text from contemporary scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books, booklets and pamphlets, conference proceedings, and government, NGO and special reports.
  • Google Scholar is very useful for seeing if a book, article, etc. has been cited by other scholars. Search on the title, and then follow the "Cited by ..." link. 
  • HeinOnline provides full text online access to 2,300 scholarly and legal journals. It's also a good source for a wide variety of official U.S. and international government documents, including all of the world's constitutions and all U.S. treaties.
  • International Political Science Abstracts (IPSA) lets you search for scholarly political science literature including the sub-fields of public administration, political theory and international relations.
  • JSTOR provides the full text of back issues from core scholarly journals in political science and other fields in the humanities and social sciences from the earliest issues to within a few years of current publication. Please note that, generally, this database does not include issues published in the last few years. You can search just the political science journals in JSTOR by using the Advanced Search "NARROW BY DISCIPLINE AND/OR JOURNAL" feature.
  • PAIS Index covers the world's public affairs, public and social policies, international relations, and world politics. It includes references to journal articles, books, government documents, statistical sources, grey literature, research reports, conference proceedings, and publications of international agencies from over 120 countries. Topics include business, government, international relations, banking, environment, health, social sciences, demographics, law and legislation, political science, public administration, finance, agriculture, education, and statistics.
  • Social Sciences Citation Index is a multidisciplinary database with searchable author abstracts, covering the journal literature of the social sciences. It links publications based on citations allowing you to search the "web" of communication surrounding a topic. You also can search Science Citation Index and Arts & Humanities Index simultaneously with the Social Science Citation Index - click on "MORE SETTINGS" to select the databases you want to search.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts is great place to start looking for scholarly journal articles. The database is devoted to North American and international politics.

Finding News Sources

  • AllAfrica.com posts over 700 stories daily in English and French and offers a diversity of multi-lingual streaming programming as well as a 400,000-article searchable archive (which includes the archive of Africa News Service dating from 1997). Fully accessible ONLY on campus.
  • Alt-Press Watch provides full text articles from over 210 alternative and press publications, including newspapers, magazines and journals.
  • Ethnic newsWatch provides full text articles from newspapers and periodicals published by the ethnic, minority and native press in the U.S. back to 1960.
  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports provides full text translations of newspaper articles, radio and television broadcasts, non-classified technical reports, conference proceedings, and local media sources from around the world. This database covers 1941-1996; coverage from 1996 to the present is available in World News Connection, described below.
  • LexisNexis Academic contains access to hundreds of information sources including the full text of newspapers, magazines, wire services, newsletters, journals, and broadcast transcripts from around the world.
  • Mideastwire.com offers a daily email newsletter of concise, translated briefs covering some of the key political, cultural, economic and opinion pieces appearing via the print, radio and television media of the 22 Arab countries, Iran and the Arab Diaspora.
  • ProQuest Newspapers has articles from U.S. national newspapers, international English-language newspapers, and selected regional/state newspapers. Chronological coverage of individual newspapers varies. 
  • World News Connection is the continuation of FBIS Daily Reports, above. It provides full text translations of newspaper articles, radio and television broadcasts, non-classified technical reports, conference proceedings, and local media sources from around the world. This database covers 1996 to 2013; coverage from 1941 to 1996 is available in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports, described above.

Finding Data, Statistics, and Polling Sources

For help finding and analyzing data, check out the Empirical Reasoning Center (ERC). The ERC's calendar lists when staff is available to answer your questions. No appointment necessary!

  • EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) provides access to several EIU publications including Country Reports, Country Monitor, Country Commerce, Country Finance, and EIU ViewsWire. Information is presented as analysis, briefings, commentary, or forecasts.
  • Gallup Analytics provides access to Gallup's U.S. Daily tracking and World Poll data - with data from countries that are home to more than 98% of the world's population. Polls cover topics such as economic conditions, government and business, health and well-being, infrastructure, and education. ACCESS NOTE: This database is restricted to one user at a time, if you find you do not have access, please try again later.
  • Gallup.com conducts public opinion polls on political, social, and economic issues.
  • Historical Statistics of the United States, Millennial Ed. contains over 37,000 data sets from 1790-2000, fully searchable and customizable. Retrieved tables can be downloaded as Excel or PDF files. 
  • iPoll databank @ the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research provides comprehensive, up-to-date source for U.S. nationwide public opinion from 1935 to present. Surveys archived in the Roper Catalog were originally gathered by academic, commercial and media survey organizations such as Gallup Organization, Harris Interactive, Pew Research Associates, and many more.
  • Polling the Nations is a database of polls taken on a variety of subjects conducted from 1986 through the present in the United States and more than 100 other countries around the world.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic conditions of the United States. Once provided free from the U.S. Census Bureau, now provided by ProQuest.
  • The following research guides from Columbia University Libraries list other polling resources:

Need even more data sources? Check out Social Science Data & Statistics Sources.

Finding U.S. Government Information & Analysis

  • The Almanac of American Politics provides a brief political history of each state and congressional district in the U.S., with profiles of each of the incumbent Governors, Senators and Representatives.
  • American State Papers, 1789-1838 contains U.S. congressional material originating from 1789 and covering through 1838.
  • CQ Electronic Library provides several key resources analyzing American government, current affairs, history, politics, and public policy.
    • Congress Collection has historical data and analysis of members of Congress including their legislative voting behavior, electoral data, and interest group ratings. 
    • CQ Almanac features analysis on the major legislation and actions of congress for each year since 1945. Unique data on the voting patterns of Congress members provide insight into the legislative process and history of the institution. You can follow the history of a policy issue with the Policy Tracker tool which links reports on the same issue for almost 70 years. 
    • Politics in America profiles members of Congress include analysis of personalities, political styles, legislative agendas, political ambitions, and reputations of members at home and on Capitol Hill. Also includes detailed state and district information plus information and data on campaign finance, partisan caucuses, standing committees, and other member facts.
    • Supreme Court Yearbook is a collection of annual reporting on the actions and opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court with clear, in-depth analysis of every decision made by the nation's highest court since the 1989-1990 term and the justices who ruled on them.
    • Voting and Elections Collection is a database of elections data, authoritative analyses, concise explanations, and historical materials to help researchers investigate and understand voting and elections in America from 1789-present.
  • Digital National Security Archive includes more than 80,000 of the most important declassified documents regarding critical U.S. policy decisions. There are 36 complete collections, each offering specialized insights.
  • ProQuest Congressional provides information produced by or pertaining to the United States Congress from 1789 to the present. Provides full text for many titles, generally from the early 1990's to the present. Includes bills, laws, legislative histories, committee prints, House and Senate documents and reports, the Congressional Record, Code of Federal Regulations, and Federal Register. Includes full text of Congressional Research Service reports, 1916-present; full text of Congressional hearings, 1824-present; full text of Committee Prints, 1830-present; full text of the Serial Set Collection with Maps, 1789-present; and full text of Executive Branch Document, 1789-1939.
  • U.S. Declassified Documents Online (USDDO) provides access to previously classified U.S. government documents, particularly from the executive branch. The majority of the documents are presidential records. You can also find records fromthe Department of State, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other executive agencies. Materials include intelligence studies, policy papers, diplomatic correspondence, cabinet meeting minutes, briefing materials, and domestic surveillance and military reports. NOTE: This resource was previously called Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS). 

Finding International Relations Materials

  • CQ Political Handbook of the World is a collection of country profiles chronicling each nation's political history, government, leadership, elections, and political parties that include profiles of intergovernmental organizations, development banks, and the agencies and specialized bodies of the United Nations. 
  • UN Treaty Collection provides access to over 50,000 full text bilateral and multilateral treaties.

Writing and Citing

  • Barnard guides to citation management provides information about citation practices, style guides, and software programs you can use that help you keep track of your sources and create bibliographies.
  • Cite Source presents information about how to cite various sources in a visual way, and they offer guidance on citing tricky source like government agency reports, House and Senate committee debates and hearings, and other. Check out the source help for APAAPSA, Chicago, and MLA styles.​
  • The Craft of Research is an online book that can help guide you through the full research process.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has lots of general and subject-specific writing tips and techniques, along with research advice and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, Chicago, and MLA styles.
  • Quick Guide to Data Citation (pdf file) is a handy resource from the International Association for Social Science Information Services Technology (IASSIST).

Last updated March 30, 2018