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This is a guide to help students with research for government course topics.


What Is Your Research Topic?

Once you have made a decision, you should generate keywords. Keywords are search terms that you use when searching for information about your topic. The above video explains how you can write keywords. Watch it, then continue reading this section.

Let's pose an example: you're writing about the uses of executive powers by the past three US Presidents Your keywords could include:

  • Trump and executive power
  • Obama and executive power
  • George W Bush and executive power

When writing keywords or even starting sociological or anthropological research, it can be very helpful to get some background information first. A database like CREDO Reference is useful for this task. Read an article or two about your topic so that  you become more familiar with it. This will make it easier to select keywords and to know if information sources that you find are actually relevant.

Articles from Databases

Database Basics

Now that you have keywords, it's time to search the databases. Have you used the databases before? If you don't have recent experience with our library's databases, then I suggest watching this introductory video.

Databases to Explore

The video embedded above shows you how to search Academic Search Complete, which is one of the two databases ideal for government research. Both of these databases are structured the same way, so the tutorial video applies to both of them.

Remember to limit your search results to scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals if your professor has told you to use only those types of sources.

News Sources

Find Newspaper Articles in Databases

Scholarly journal articles can be helpful for understanding government and political issues. But they are usually at least several months behind on recent news. So, depending on your topic, it may be useful to find recent news articles.

US Major Dailies is a database of 5 major daily newspapers. It's an excellent source of information for US and international news. The video tutorial above shows you how to search it.

If you need local news, consult the Houston Chronicle. It's partially available for free on the web. But this database version below gives you complete access to the archives dating back decades.


How to Search eBooks

We have two excellent ebook databases. These let you read full-text books online. The interfaces can be confusing, so I have included a tutorial video for each one.

The video above shows you how to search the ebook database titled EBSCO eBook Collection.

The video above shows you how to search the database ProQuest EBook Central.

APA Documentation

How to Cite Your Sources in APA 7

This is our video that introduces APA documentation. I urge you to watch the entire video carefully before starting to write your paper or annotated bibliography. It is much easier to cite correctly as you go along, rather than try to fix your documentation after you have written your paper. This is our complete APA guide, which goes into more detail about citing sources and formatting correctly.

It includes our sample paper. When you're writing a paper, you can model the formatting of your paper after this one. If you are unsure how to set up the formatting in Microsoft Word so that it fits the requirements for APA formatting, you could instead download this blank Word document that has the formatting already set up for you.

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