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Get Started with Your Research
Do you have a topic, but you're not sure where to start? Try a few of these tips!
- Scan your textbook or assigned readings for ideas or for books and articles you can look for.
- Start to write down keywords and related concepts. Think of synonyms that you can use as keywords.
- Consider creating a concept map if you learn best visually. Try Mind42 or MindMeister for some cool online tools, or use Credo Reference's Mind Map function.
- Find background information and use it to find more keywords.
Encyclopedia of the American Constitution
Call Number: REF KF 4548 .E53
Four-volume encyclopedia providing definitions of terms, articles on constitutional history and political issues, biographies of important people, information on court cases, and much more.
The Encyclopedia of Democracy
Call Number: REF JC 423 .E53
Four-volume encyclopedia covering countries, key figures, philosophical concepts, historical eras, and many other concepts relevant to the study of democracy. Articles are signed and include bibliographies for further reading.
Encyclopedia of Government and Politics
Call Number: REF JA 61 .E53
Two-volume encyclopedia covering political theory, political systems, political processes, international relations, policy making, and more.
The Almanac of American Politics
Call Number: REF JK 1012 .B37
Published every other year, provides information on the states, their governors, senators, and representatives.
The Europa World Year Book
Call Number: REF JN 1 .E85
Two-volume resource published yearly. Provides a list of 1,650 international organizations and information about the countries of the world. Information for each country includes an introductory survey, a statistical survey, and a directory (of the government, political organizations, finance, religion, etc).
The Statesman’s Yearbook
Call Number: REF JA 51 .S7
Yearly publication detailing information on international organizations and the countries of the world. Country information includes a map, capital, key historical events, territory and population, social statistics, government, elections, current administration, economy, culture, and more.
Washington Information Directory
Call Number: REF JK 7 .W33
Provides information on agencies, Senate or House committees, nongovernmental groups with headquarters in or near Washington, and more.
Sometimes when you're getting started on a topic, all you want is a good overview of the basics. The library has lots of resources to help you get just the facts, fast.
Reference books like encyclopedias, dictionaries, biographies, and more can be a great way to get basic information. Try searching our online reference collections below to find great articles on all sorts of topics!
Electronic Book Center - Reference