Skip to Main Content

Political Science

Get Online Help

Reminder: Online Access

  • Library resources require going through CWRU Single Sign-On.
  • The best method is to follow links from the library website.
  • When logged in and a browser window is not closed, access should continue from resource to resource.
  • Remember to close your browser when done.

Finding Copies of Articles

If the database you are using doesn't provide the full text for an article directly, remember to take these 3 steps IN SEQUENCE to search for a copy in the Case Libraries system. 

IF, AND ONLY IF, these 3 steps don't provide a way to get a copy of the article, see the box below for information on our inter-library loan (ILL) service.


ILLiad - Interlibrary Loan Service at KSL

If you've determined that the full text of an article isn't available electronically or in print from the Case Libraries, you can request a copy through our interlibrary loan service.

Notes on Selecting Project Sources

Things to keep in mind when reviewing sources:

  • Who is the audience, and are there other discussants? - This is a core question when it comes to making source type distinctions (books, periodicals, web pages, etc.) and evaluating source authority/validity.

  • Note that academic libraries primarily collect peer-reviewed scholarship and research sources that are not available from other types of libraries or the web.

Notes on Searching Selected Resources

Don’t rely on search engines and databases to do the research review work for you.  They are only tools.

More important is to discover and trace specific research conversations, rather than finding everything possible in a database that connects to your broad topic area.

Review core catalog and article database searching techniques with this set of quick tutorials:

Strategy & Resources

The objective for your paper assignment -- To trace your way back to the specific research conversations on your topic, and demonstrate that you understand the issues and questions being asked currently by the researchers.

Methods for conducting background research on your topic:

  • Scan news databases for current news coverage
  • Look for policy papers on the issue
  • Strategically find and scan books and handbooks for content that covers the issue in greater depth
  • Consult the research article literature for the latest discussions on your topic

Map It! - Use concept and topic mapping to brainstorm ideas for your paper topic, track various aspects of the research conversation, and make decisions about which research conversations you'll focus on in particular for your paper. (*see below for more on mapping techniques)

Topic Mapping

Topic mapping can be a great tool to help you organize your thoughts and generate important keywords for your topic.

For an introduction to topic mapping, watch this three-minute UCLA Library video.

The great thing about topic maps is that you can create one using paper and pen/pencil. You can also sketch icons and use a variety of colors and arrows to be even more creative.  For more background, an online search for "Concept Map" or "Mind Map" will turn up many examples you can browse through to get a sense of what may work best for you.

Steps to create your own map:

  • Do some preliminary background research on your main topic.
  • Begin drawing your map, and put the main topic idea in the middle in a large circle.
  • Write simple phrases or single words (in bubbles if you like or text alone) branching off from the main topic. These words and phrases represent related areas of your main topic.
  • The words or phrases could become keywords for library database searching or they could be a way to organize ideas and themes.
  • Activity: Use your keywords or phrases in a KSL database and experiment with single words or combinations of words.

CWRU Libraries Discovery