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Political Science

Encyclopedias, Handbooks and Dictionaries

When researching a topic, many students find it helpful to begin with a general research tool, such as an encyclopedia, to provide background information on their chosen topic. From there, students can narrow in on a thesis or research question that will inform their research project.

To begin searching for encyclopedias, dictionaries or handbooks, students should begin by doing a search in the Library Catalog. Political Science is a discipline that can intersect with many other academic fields and conducting a proper search can help narrow down the number of items a search returns.

One trick to tracking down the appropriate type of reference material is to add the source type, (i.e.: dictionary) to a SUBJECT KEYWORD search. Examples include: political science AND encyclopedia, political science AND dictionary, political science AND handbook.

Remember, if you get stuck, check out the box to the left and contact a Reference Librarian!

Examples of Reference Materials

Here are some items in our reference collection that you might find relevent to your research. All reference materials are located in the reference section, behind the Info & Research Help Desk on the first floor of the library. When searching in the Library Catalog, all items that are in the reference section will be indicated in a location box that says URI Reference.Reference materials may not be checked out of the library.

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