POL 101

by HUSKEY_JE — last modified 2016-04-28T16:30:25-04:00

Hello! This guide will help you complete your Policy Research Paper and annotated bibliography. If you need any additional assistance, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Amy Gratz, the librarian for this class (contact info at right). If you need more immediate assistance, you can also Ask Jack!

Need a Refresher?

Search Tips and Strategies - goes over both basic and advanced search tips and tools. The search operators explained here are extremely useful for some of our databases, such as JSTOR.

Scholarly, Popular, and Trade Publications - explains the differences between these types of sources, as well as why they can be useful.

Evaluating Sources with the C.R.A.P. Test - a basic strategy for evaluating sources and some questions to consider

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - explains what annotations are, how they're different from abstracts, and some points to consider in writing them (this can also be useful when evaluating sources). Please note that Dr. Grant's assignment guidelines are more important, however!

Finding Books

I strongly suggest starting with this part of the assignment! You can search for books held at Tarver Library in two different places:

Discovery - limit your search to "catalog only" on the library homepage, advanced search page, or the results page. You may also need to limit specifically to books and ebooks if you see a large number of government documents, films, etc. Use the "type" and "location" filters (on the left of the results page) as needed. IF you start today, you have time to request materials from the other Mercer University Libraries if needed! Click through to the Mercer University Libraries Catalog to see the request option - you can also access a map directing you to the book on our shelves.

Library Catalog - Searching here gives you some more advanced options for locating materials in our collection, such as subject browsing, which can be very useful. Try starting with the Advanced search page and adding limits for "location" and "material type." Hold down control while selecting items to select multiple options in the same list. IF you start today, you have time to request materials from the other Mercer University Libraries if needed! Look for the "request" button to do so.

If Mercer University Libraries do not have enough books on your topic, I recommend checking with a librarian about your options (feel free to !). Due to the short timeframe for this assignment, you will not be able to use Interlibrary Loan to request books.

Recommended Resources

Discovery Advanced Search - This tool allows you to search the library catalog and about half of our databases simultaneously. Recommended for: books, academic journals, magazines, newspapers, and many other sources. Try limiting by discipline to focus your search, or use the tools built into the results page to find more relevant sources.

Databases included in Discovery searches, but worth searching separately:

  • JSTOR — An online archive containing back issues of scholarly journals in many disciplines. Use the advanced search page to narrow by discipline.
  • TOPICsearch — A current events database covering social, political, and economic issues, scientific discoveries, and other popular topics. 
  • Social Sciences Citation Index — Covers bibliographic and citation information from the world's leading social sciences journals across 50 disciplines.

CQ Researcher — Provides access to weekly reports on specific political and social issues, including topics in health, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the U.S. economy. This is a great place to get an overview of an issue, different perspectives on it, as well as links out to useful sources.

LexisNexis Academic — This is our best database for legal information. It also provides access to newspapers, legal news, general interest magazines, medical journals, trade publications, company financial information, transcripts, wire service reports, government publications, law reviews, and reference works.

Research Library (ProQuest) — A multidisciplinary database with sources that are not included in a Discovery search. This is another good database to check to make sure you've covered all your bases.

Google Scholar - Google's answer to academic databases. Recommended for academic journals and books. If the full text is not available, consider using Interlibrary Loan!