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POLS 293: Public Policymaking and Analysis (HC)

POLS 293: Public Policymaking and Analysis (Oberfield) Spring 2023

Using Journal Articles

Journal articles provide in-depth scholarly information for your research.  They are vetted and improved by peer review prior to publication.  They form an important part of the communication network that makes research available, prompts discussion, and identifies new issues to resolve.

Before searching in journal databases, develop vocabulary that uses synonyms and related terms.   Construct search statements that bring subjects into meaningful connections.

OR:  Link synonyms with OR and group them with parentheses      
          (immigra* OR ethnic*)

AND: Combine topics that you want to see together     
          "human rights" AND gender* 

Focus: Choose where the database is searching.  It may be set automatically for keyword.  You can make the search more precise by looking instead for subjects or words in abstracts.

Results: Look at the articles retrieved, especially their subject headings, for additional ideas and concepts. Then change your search terms for further results.

Journal Indexes

The databases below allow you to search for journal articles by subject.  When you find a title of interest, if the full text is not immediately available (as in JSTOR and Proquest), use the Find It button   to check for your college's holdings.

Political Science Indexes

General Indexes -All Subject Areas Covered

Indexes for Related Subject Areas

Journal Indexes for Regions of the World

Tracking Citations Forward in Time

Usually researchers find more sources by looking at the footnotes in an article or book, but these will always be older than the publication you have in hand.  
Citation indexes like the Web of Science (which includes sections for the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, and Science) are set up to search for sources cited in the footnotes of journal articles as soon as they become available. 

This allows you to find newer articles which cite the books and articles you already know are key for your topic.  By relying on connections between authors rather than subject words and by moving forward in time, citation searching can open up new avenues of research.