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POLS 038: Designing and Doing Political Science Research (SC)

Political Science 038: Designing and Doing Political Science Research (Schwarz) Fall 2023

Get Help with Research

You can get help with finding primary and secondary sources, citations, and organizing your research.

Simon Elichko (they/them)
Social Sciences & Data Librarian

Some questions to consider

  • What do you already know about your topic?
  • Do you need more background information to help narrow down your topic to a research question?
  • Which aspects of your topic have other political scientists already explored?

How to find articles & books (when you have a citation)

The libraries provide you with access to millions of books and articles. Follow these instructions to get access.

Find an article 

Bagby, Laurie M. Johnson. “The Use and Abuse of Thucydides in International Relations.” International organization 48, no. 1 (1994): 131–153.

  1. Search Tripod for the article's title. 
  2. Do you see a match for the article in Tripod?

Find a book

Khong, Yuen Foong. Analogies at War : Korea, Munich, Dien Bien Phu, and the Vietnam Decisions of 1965. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1992.

  1. Search for the book title in Tripod.  (example: Debating the Democratic Peace)
  2. Click on the result to view the full record page.  (example)
    Tripod will give you information about how to get the book, whether it's available online or there's a print copy at the library.


Find a Book Chapter

Mahoney-Norris, Kathleen A., and Derek S. Reveron, 'Climate Change and Environmental Security', in Derek S. Reveron, Nikolas K. Gvosdev, and John A. Cloud (eds), The Oxford Handbook of U.S. National Security. 2017.

  1. Search Tripod for the book in which the chapter is published - in this case, Oxford Handbook of US National Security.
  2. Click to view the full record. For this book, there's online access and a print copy you could request from Haverford.

Tripod tells you how to get books, articles, and other materials through the library.

Understanding Tripod instructions for getting a book:


  • Get It 
    • McCabe Reserves - Ask at McCabe front desk
    • Honors Reserves - These are shelved on the 2nd floor of McCabe, near the main study area. Books are organized by course. (example Honors Reserve book)
    • Swarthmore McCabe - Available - Shelved in the library at the call number listed. (example McCabe book)
      • DIY: You can go to the shelf and get the book yourself. Feel free to ask for help. 
      • Request: Sign into Tripod, then click Request Physical Item. (The book will be brought to the front desk for you. You'll get an email when it's ready, usually within a day.)
    • Haverford Lutnick or Bryn Mawr Canaday - Can be delivered you at McCabe within 1 day: Sign into Tripod, then click Request Physical Item. (example TriCo book)

How to get a book that's not available in Tripod:

  1. Login to EZBorrow. Search for your book and request a copy. (takes ~1 week to arrive, usually)
  2. Can't find the book in EZBorrow? Fill out the Interlibrary Loan Request form. (~1-2 weeks to arrive, usually)


How to get an article or book chapter (PDF) that's not available in Tripod:

  1. Double-check Tripod availability. For an article, try searching for the journal title (not the article). For a chapter, try searching for the book (not the chapter).
  2. If we don't have access, place an Article Delivery Request or a Book Chapter Request. You'll get a PDF by email. (2 days or less, usually)

Not sure? Ask library staff for help!

  • Email
  • Use the Chat button in Tripod
  • Stop by the front desk in McCabe, Cornell, or Underhill Library

Use the red chat button in Tripod to get quick help.

  • If you're prompted for your name and a question, there's a librarian or RIA available to help.


  • During the week, you should get a response back within a few hours (often faster).

Stop by the McCabe Research & Information Desk to ask.

  • Librarians and RIAs staff this desk. There's usually someone there from 11am-10pm M-Th.