FIG - Politically Creative

FIG - Politically Creative

Research Guides Home  | Tutorials | Citing Sources | Reference Sources | Evaluating Sources

This page should help you with your FIG research assignment and also with research paper assignments you may have for INTL240 or PS201. Feel free to contact me with questions. You may also want to try the UO Libraries LibX Toolbar for your browser

Answer the Wrap-up Question(s) at the end of class.

Victoria Mitchell - Librarian for: Political Science,  Government Information, and Social Science Data

ph: (541) 346-3076


Find an article here:


The above search box is searching the following specific databases, that you might want to try individually:

off-campus access limited to UO = You must be on campus, or an authorized UO user if off campus, to access)

Academic Search Premier
Good for its mix of popular, news and scholarly articles. You have to exercise your critical evaluation skills to help determine what's what. (Do NOT rely solely on their limit to peer-reviewed feature--it is not reliable.)

America: History and Life
Journal articles on US and Canadian history and related fields, including politics, popular culture.

Communication & Mass Media Complete
Covers over 500 journals, primarily in the fields of journalism, mass media, and communication.

PsycNET provides indexing and abstracting for 1,900 journals in psychology and related disciplines. It also indexes dissertations and published anthologies

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
The best database for retrieving articles only from scholarly journals in political science and related fields such as international relations, law, and public administration / policy.

See also:

Google Scholar
Way better than regular Google for doing scholarly research. It searches journal articles, books, reports from research institutions and think-tanks, university archives and repositories, etc. Click on the downward-facing arrow in the search box for Advanced search.

  • This worksheet will help you develop keyword searches that get results.

Find a book

in UOWorldCat (UO Libraries and beyond)

A few book search tips:

  • Use general terms, as opposed to the more specific terms used for searching for articles. E.g., if you want books that will tell you about the use of images in a particular presidential campaign - say Obama's 2008 campaign, you may want to just look for books on images and presidential campaigns generally, or books just on Obama's campaign.
  • UO WorldCat searches for articles, and many other formats besides books. To limit to books, click on 'book' under format on the left side.
  • You may get better results if you do a Subject Heading search for a broad term. To do a search by Subject, go to Advanced Search. You also can click on the subject heading links at the bottom of the full record display for a book that you like, to get more like it. For instance, the subject headings used for the Enviromental movement are "Green movement" or just "Environmentalism".


Short Video: How to read a scientific journal article
Although this is about a scientific article, a lot of the principles apply to any scholarly journal article, especially if it involves empirical research.

Short Video: Evaluating Websites


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Reference Sources & Guides

off-campus access limited to UO = You must be on campus, or an authorized UO user if off campus, to access)

21st Century Political Science off-campus access limited to UO
Useful for background information on issues like gender, race, or religion in American politics & campaigns.

American Folklore: An Encyclopedia off-campus access limited to UO
Contains a chapter on Politics and Folklore; more.

Encyclopedia of Communication and Information

Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media off-campus access limited to UO
Covers large movements, e.g. environmental, feminist, labor, as well as smaller, individual movements, and how they use(d) media.

International Encyclopedia of Communication
Articles on topics like Political Communication, Marketing, and Symbols; Candidate Image, Propaganda, Election Campaign Communication.  See the references at the ends of the articles.

The Oxford Companion to Politics of the World off-campus access limited to UO ; also in KNIGHT REFERENCE JA61 .O95 2001
A comprehensive guide to international relations and domestic politics throughout the world, with articles on major concepts and themes in modern politics. Both brief and in-depth articles.

Compare the above reference sources with:

  • Do the articles have identified authors? Are the authors' credentials and affiliations available? Do the articles have references or bibliographies? If so, are there differences in the kinds of references given?
  • Wikipedia is a very handy, free Internet source, but it is not necessarily reliable. For a demonstration of this phenomenon, watch this excerpt of the Colbert Report. (This is a bit dated now, as changes have been made to Wikipedia since this was aired, but it's still funny!)

Evaluating Sources

This web page contains a wealth of information on evaluating information sources both in print and on the Web: Critical Evaluation of Information Sources
If the above page is TOO much information for you, check out:

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: or, Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources (Susan E. Beck, New Mexico State University)
    Still my favorite site on web evaluation for its brevity and clarity

To determine whether a particular periodical (magazine, journal) is scholarly (peer-reviewed, refereed) or popular, see these pages:

What is "peer-review"?