Political Science

Use this guide to quickly find reputable sources and save time on your research! Contact your subject librarian or the reference librarians if you need more help. For an overview of how to research efficiently, see Steps of the Research Process.


Finding Materials in the Library

Search CityCat to find books, e-books, disks and more. There are many ways to search, such as Title, Author and Keyword.

Books in the library are organized by call number according to the Library of Congress classification system which groups items by subject, so you can often simply browse the shelves. Here are some relevant subjects and their call numbers:

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



Reference Sources

Reference books are great for short overviews and background information. There are also reference resources in our database section.

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



Use databases for specialized and the most up-to-date information, especially academic (scholarly) sources that are not available for free on the Web. See the Articles & Databases page for a full list of databases available.

Gale Powersearch
Gale Powersearch is a brand name for 25 multidisplinaryl databases with coverage from 1980 to the present. These databases let you limit your results to articles only from scholarly journals by checking the box "Peer Reviewed publications."

Ebscohost is a brand name for more than 25 multi-disciplinary databases with coverage from 1980 to the present.

SFPL - Electronic Resources, Magazines, and Newspapers
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, select the subject - Science & Technology.  Applied Science & Technology Index and General Science Index, and Internet & Personal Computing Abstracts are two databases that index a lot of information on computer science..



Use websites for government information, statistics and current events. It's very important to carefully evaluate websites for accuracy, currency, bias and credibility.

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.