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Political Science

Overview

Searching the literature on comparative politics may involve examining existing research that compares an aspect of politics in two or more countries. It may also involve finding studies on a single topic in different countries, and then examining and analyzing them yourself. In addition to articles, data is often used to conduct comparative political analysis. 

Keywords are very important when developing a search strategy, particularly in Political Science. Many keywords contain inherent biases and perspectives. A search for ideology and "United States" within Worldwide Political Science Abstracts returns over 40,000 results. A search for hegemony and "United States" returns fewer than 17,000 results. Selecting keywords carefully can help to narrow the focus of research results, but can also lead to results that reinforce a viewpoint, rather than cover all perspectives. 

Searching by country names and regional descriptors also requires careful consideration. The United Kingdom, Britain and UK are often used interchangeably in conversation and yet will lead to different results, due to their actually unique meanings. At times, countries in the Caribbean may be understood as part of Latin America or South America, and at other times these regions are understood quite discretely. These two examples are provided to highlight the need for careful consideration of language when searching

Background Reading

Databases