*Political Science Subject Guide

A starting point for general political science research.

Information, Information, Everywhere!

Libraries locate, collect, preserve, describe, and organize A LOT of information so that people can access it for a variety of purposes.


There are many types of resources you can access through the GSU Library, for example:
  • Special Collections and Archives: Historical artifacts that convey information (and disinformation), in many forms.
  • Newspapers, Trade Magazines, and Popular Magazines: Articles published with the intent to quickly inform the public, often containing advertisements, errors, and forms of disinformation that may be updated or corrected over time.
  • Scholarly (peer-reviewed): Articles published according to a rigorous set of standards, and reviewed by professional peers. This includes open access literature and systematic reviews.
  • Empirical (scientific): Articles that are scholarly, but which also report findings of original scientific studies that address specific research questions.

This means that not everything inside a library's collection will meet your specific needs. The relevance of information you find while performing a systematic search is determined by your research scope.

The Basics of Searching for Resources

So, you have selected a research topic and it is time to start collecting resources that are relevant to your research. Taking time to develop an intentional search strategy will help you locate resources efficiently.

To do this, we use information search strategies like Boolean operators, nesting, truncation, and phrase searching.

Here is an example:

Search Strategy Builder

The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. While it is not a database and is not designed to input a search, you should be able to cut and paste the results into most databases’ search boxes.

  Concept 1 AND Concept 2 AND Concept 3
Name your core concepts here:    
Search terms Search terms Search terms

List alternate terms for each concept.

These can be synonyms, relevant antonyms, antiquated terminology, or specific examples of the concept.

You can use single words (ex: balloon)
phrases with quotation marks (ex: "hot air balloons")
or truncate words with an asterisk to indicate all versions of the word (ex: balloon*)










Now copy and paste the above Search Strategy into a database search box.

The Search Strategy Builder was developed by the University of Arizona Libraries(CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US), and shared by Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh.

Let's Get Interactive!

Navigating to an Article

Most of the time, searches in databases will provide a PDF link to the article:


Sometimes, you will have to click on a text link:


And at times you may just see a "Find it @ GSU" button, and after you click on it you will see "No full text available."


When this happens, notice that below the "no full text available" message, there is an option for an additional service: "Request through ILLiad."

ILLiad is our interlibrary loan service. It is a free service. We will try to get the article from another library for you. If we are successful, the article will be available to you in about 1-2 business days. If you have never requested an article through interlibrary loan before and need help, contact the global studies librarian.


Google Scholar broadly searches for scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources – including articles, books, theses, professional societies, and more. 

Google Scholar

About Google Scholar
Google Scholar Search Tips

Google Scholar

If you are on campus, you will see links to the full-text of articles in a Google Scholar search. Those links are provided by the library's paid access. If you are off campus, you will not see them unless you change the settings on your home laptop/computer.

Here is how you do that:

Go to Google Scholar and click on the three-line "burger" menu in the upper left.

Choose "Settings" and then choose "Library links." In the blank bar, type in Georgia State University and then check the box next to "Georgia State University - Find It @ GSU." Click Save at the bottom and you are all set. You should now see the links and when you click on them from off-campus, you will be asked for your campusID and password which will lead you to the full text of articles.


BrowZine works by consolidating academic journals from multiple publishers in the GSU Library collection into an easily browsable newsstand format for your mobile device or web browser.

  • Customize your personal My Bookshelf with journals you want to track, or save articles for later reading in your My Articles space.
  • Browse tables of contents and be alerted to new issues.
  • Easily read recent articles or full journal issues.
  • Sync settings/journals between your tablet and phone.
  • Download and save articles for offline reading.
  • Export to ZoteroMendeleyDropbox and other services.

As its name suggests, BrowZine is designed for browsing recent scholarship in journals you read regularly or in tracking specific subject areas.  Older backfiles (pre-2005) are not generally available within this service. For more in-depth research or to find articles on a specific topic, we recommend subject specific databases or Discover search. For access to the library's full range of back issues, please search our Journal List.

Stay in the loop!

In EBSCOhost databases (e.g. Academic Search Complete, CINAHL Plus with Full Text, LGBT Life with Full Text, etc.):

  1. Login to your MyEBSCOhost account by clicking Sign In in top right corner of screen (if you need to make a MyEBSCOhost account, click Sign In and then click Create a new Account on sign-in screen).
  2. Choose all the EBSCOhost databases you want to search, enter your search strategy in the search field, and click Search button.
  3. On Results screen, click the Share button at top right of results list, then under Create an alert: click your desired mode of receiving alerts (E-mail Alert or RSS Feed).
  4. Set your preferences for frequency of receiving alerts, etc. (click Advanced Settings for more options if desired), then click Save Alert button.*

In Google Scholar:

  1. Sign in to your Google account (create one if you haven't already).
  2. After honing your search strategy, look to the left and click the Create alert link.

In Web of Science:

  1. Sign in to your Web of Science account ("Register" to create one if you haven't already).
  2. After honing your search strategy, look to the left and click the Create Alert link.
  3. You can also click the Searches and alerts dropdown menu toward the top right to create (1) saved searches and alerts, (2) citation alerts that alert you when selected articles have been newly cited, and (3) journal alerts to alert you when selected journals have been newly entered/indexed in WoS.

In ProQuest Databases (e.g. Sociological Abstracts):

  1. Sign in to your My Research Account (or create one if you haven't already).
  2. Follow steps on online help re: Creating a Search Alert.

Librarian Charlene

Political Science Databases

Researcher Tools

Annual Reviews

Annual Reviews are comprehensive literature reviews on topics; they are not empirical articles, but summaries of other empirical studies.  Use them to familiarize yourself with the research in an area and to mine the references for original empirical research studies.   You can browse them or use the Advanced Search to search within specific ones.

Off-Campus Access

Install and login to the Cisco AnyConnect VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your computer so that you are logged into the GSU network and will be automatically routed to GSU-subscribed journals. It’s available for download and instructions for using on the following platforms are available here: Windows | Mac | Android | Apple iOS

NOTE: There's a point where the directions tell you to enter secureaccess.gsu.edu as what to connect to.

Fact Checking Tookbox