Political Science and Public Administration: Start Guide for Research

Preliminary Research

Unless you are very familiar with your subject area of interest you may want to explore several topics and then check in with your professor.

The library has access to many subject-specialized reference sources that would assist in this initial step, such as reference sources about American history, Public Policy, Health Care Policy, Supreme Court history, political parties, social movements, U.S.government and more. 

If you find an article within a print reference book, you can request a scanned copy by filling out the

Periodical Scan Request Form - Please use for articles in Reference Books.

Reference Books

General Encyclopedia vs. Subject Encyclopedia

general encyclopedia will contain information about a wide range of topics.

The articles are: 

  • written by an editor or staff writer (not necessarily experts)
  • not usally signed, meaning no author is listed
  • short, usually under 100 words in length
  • provide an overview on a topic, but not a lot of specific or detailed information
  • Examples:
    • Encyclopedia Britannica (a Krueger Library Database)
    • Encyclopedia Americana (Printed set in the Reference Collection, REF AE5 .E333)

subject encyclopedia will be more focused and detailed information on a specific subject.

The articles are: 

  • written typically by an author with professional knowledge or educational background on the topic
  • signed by the author
  • longer in length; word length varies
  • more detailed and specific about a topic than a general encyclopedia
  • sources are often cited
  • Examples:
    • The Encyclopedia of Political Science (print set in the Reference Collection, REF JA61 E513 2011, five volumes).
    • The Encyclopedia of Political Theory (print set in the Reference Collection, REF JA61 E515 2010, three volumes).  

Research Questions

Credo Reference Online Books

Other Topics

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) - "The Congressional Research Service (CRS) works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for more than a century." -CRS  

As of 2018 CRS publications are now provided to the public by the CRS. PReviously the publications were only available through your Congressional Representative or through various repositories that gather them such as  the University of Tennessee's collection here - Congressional Research Service .

Note: To see an index of topics, from the main CRS site, leave the search box blank and hit the search button.