Political Science Subject Guide - Library & Learning Resources - City College of San Francisco Go to the CCSF library's main page Find Books using the library's Catalog Find Articles in periodical & reference databases Search the web Library information, frequently asked questions Go to main CCSF web page

Finding Books

Reserve Books

Subject Headings

Reference Sources

Finding Articles

Web Resources

Evaluating Sources

Citing Sources

Additional Help

Political Science Subject Guide

Subject guides are designed to help students begin the research process, find reputable sources, and save time.

Searching the Library Catalog for Books & Other Materials

To locate books and other materials in CCSF Libraries, select the Library Catalog from the Library's Homepage. You will notice many ways to search, such as Title, Author, Subject, Subject Keyword, etc.

Examples of Subject searches include: Lincoln, Abraham; democracy; liberty; comparative government; international relations; socialism; nationalism; and revolutions.

Reserve Materials

Reserve Materials include books, sample tests, class notes, and other items that instructors put at the library for class use. The check out time is shorter than regular circulating books.

To search for a book on reserve in the Library Catalog, select either Reserves by Course or Reserves by Instructor.

When you have located the materials, write down the Call Number and Title and present this to a staff person at the Circulation Desk.


Browsing the Library Collection

Materials in the Library are shelved by call number according to the Library of Congress classification system. Books are arranged on the shelves by subject.

Relevant areas in the collection to find materials on political science include:

Political Science (general) JA 1-92
Political Theory JC 11-607
Law of Nations KZ 1-6785
International Relations JZ 2-6530
Local Government JS 3-8500
Socialism, Communism, Anarchism HX 1-970


Using Key Reference Sources

Reference books provide background information and overviews on a given topic. Some relevant reference books in political science include:

Encyclopedia of Political Thought
Sheldon, Garrett Ward. New York: Facts on File, 2001.
JA 61 E52 2001 Rosenberg Reference

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics
McLean, Jain, editor. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
JA 61 C665 1996 Rosenberg Reference

Encyclopedia of the American Left
Buhle, Mari Jo, ed., et al. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992, Illini Books edition.
HX 86 E58 1992 Rosenberg Reference

Encyclopedia of Human Rights
Lawson, Edward. Washington, D.C.: Taylor & Francis, 1996, 2nd edition.
JC 571 E67 1996 Rosenberg Reference

The Routledge Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Political Thinkers
Benewick, Robert & Philip Green, eds. London: Routledge, 1998, 2nd edition.
JA 83 R725 1998 Rosenberg Reference

The Almanac of American Politics 2002
Barone, Michael. Washington, D.C.: National Journal, 2001.
JK 271 B343 2002 Rosenberg Reference


Searching for Articles in Periodical Databases

Periodical databases group together journal, magazine, and newspaper articles by subject. They also usually provide abstracts (brief summaries) and the full text of the articles. Do you need help identifying the differences between scholarly journal v. popular magazine articles?

Note: Most periodical databases are part of the private, passworded Web, so you will need to have a current CCSF ID card with a barcode to access those that CCSF subscribes to. You get the free barcode from the Library either in person or online. More information about obtaining a library bar code.

Infotrac Web
Infotrac is a brand name for several databases with coverage from 1980 to the present. Most useful for political science topics are Academic ASAP and OneFile. These databases let you limit your results to articles only from scholarly journals by checking the box "Refereed titles."

Proquest Newspapers
Provides full text indexing of the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street journal, and Washington Post -- Time periods vary.

Ethnic Newswatch
Comprised of newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press in America, this unique body of materials covers a wide range of current topics and countless other social, political and educational subjects. More than 200 publications covering 1995 to the present are represented, and searchable in both English and Spanish.

Literature Resource Center
Find author biographies, critical analysis of literary works. Full text. Good for "political thinkers," "political works."

CQ Researcher
CQ provides lengthy research reports written by the editorial staff of the Congressional Quarterly Co. Excellent overview of current issues and topics.

SFPL - Find Articles and More
San Francisco Public Library subscribes to many periodical and reference databases. You must have a San Francisco Public Library card number to access them. Once you have entered your barcode number, check one or more categories to search and enter your search words.


Finding Web Resources

Below are some examples of academic/scholarly web sites for political science. If you use a search engine, such as Google, remember to evaluate the quality of the results.

Political Science Resources
Political Science Resources contains links to a large number of sources that are useful in teaching and research.

Truthout.com is maintained by Marc Ash and is a great source for a more independent and less mainstream view of politics and issues.

Country Studies (Federal Research Division, Library of Congress)
The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throught the world. At present, 102 countries and regions are covered.

Council on Foreign Relations
Dedicated to the understanding of U.S. Foreign policy and international affairs through the free and civil exchange of ideas.

Federal Web Locator
The Federal Web Locator is a service provided by the Center for Information Law and Policy and is intended to be the one stop shopping point for federal government information on the World Wide Web.

Galaxy Political Science Links
Galaxy employs the best technology (Logika) with human expertise to organize in-depth information and web sites on political science that is edited, relevant and useful.


Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Webpages: Techniques to Apply and Questions to Ask
A UC Berkeley - Teaching Library Internet Workshops

Critically Analyzing Information Sources
Developed by Olin-Kroch-Uris Libraries at Cornell University.

Evaluating and Citing Source
A quick and easy check list to use when determining the quality of web documents. Prepared by Librarians at CCSF.


Need More Assistance?

For additional help you may contact the Reference Desk by phone at (415) 452-5543 or stop by the East and West reference desks at the Rosenberg Library.

Electronic Reference Service to CCSF students, faculty, staff and registered community users. Use this service when you are NOT in a CCSF library.

Library and Web Research Workshops
Fifty minute workshops are given throughout the semester on effective methods in searching for books, articles and information on the Internet.

Evaluating and Citing Information Sources
Several useful sources for evaluating the quality of web pages, how to prepare citations for a "Bibliography" or "Works Cited" list, and how to avoid plagiarism.

Purdue's Online Writing Lab
One of the most thorough and easy to navigate writing labs available!

A+ Research and Writing
Hosted by the Internet Public Library.

Writing Process @ CSU
Colorado State University developed these guides which "focus on a range of composing processes as well as issues related to the situations in which writers find themselves."

Send comments or suggestions to:

Mark Fan
Subject Selector
(415) 452-5438

CCSF Home | Library Home | Subject Guides

Copyright Library & Learning Resource Center, City College of San Francisco
Last updated February 26, 2003