Research takes time, and when you're working on research for a paper you might spend hours researching and try many, many searches before you're done. But you shouldn't spend hours searching and finding nothing. If you spend 20-30 minutes on your research and you're not finding anything remotely relevant, please stop what you're doing and contact your librarian! I can help you develop search search strategy, and maybe choose another database more suited for your topic.
This course page was created for students in POLS 4510/5510: Democratization with Dr. Ellen Carnaghan, Spring 2023. Contact your Political Librarian (Rebecca Hyde) with questions or to make an appointment for an in-depth research consultation. For quick and/or general questions you can contact Rebecca or use our 24/5 chat assistance to get help with your research!
Some databases will include the full-text of articles, but others will include the button which links to full-text when available and if not available, gives you the option to request articles for free through Interlibrary Loan's Illiad service.
Keep track: Keep a list of the databases and search terms you used, that way you'll know what you already tried and where you had success!
Quotation marks: “Arab Spring” searches for the phrase Arab Spring. Searching without quotation marks will search for Arab and Spring anywhere in the record.
Asterisk: democra* searches for democracy, democratic, democratization, etc.
Question mark: wom?n searches for women and woman
Save what you find: Use a citation management software (like EndNote or Zotero) or other method that works for you to keep track of articles and books you find.
Trace the Literature: Use an article’s reference list to find additional articles & use a citation database/index (like Web of Science or Google Scholar) to find a list of more recent articles that have cited a given article.
I suggest selecting a tool or method for keeping track of all the articles and books you find related to you research. Below are links and information about two of the most popular citation management tools.