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Political Science

Explore the many resources related to Political Science.

What is Background Research?

Background research is the research you do before you start writing your paper. Doing background research is helpful for focusing your topic and finding out what information is available to you.

Background research can take many forms, but here's a few ways you can get started:

  • Choose one or two keywords from your area of interest or assignment description and put them into GLOCAT or a database and see what comes up. Skim over the titles to find ones that sound interesting, and use those to narrow down your topic.
  • Look through encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sources related to your field for more information on your area of interest. This can help you learn about more specific aspects of your topic that you can use for your assignment, as well as spark new keywords you can search.
  • Try Wikipedia! While Wikipedia isn't a source you can cite for an assignment, it does have plenty of background information on a wide variety of topics. You can read the Wikipedia page for background information, and most pages will have a references list at the bottom you can use to help find scholarly sources.
  • Choose a journal in your field and skim the most recent titles to get a sense of what topics are trending.



Use GLOCAT through the link above or the search box on the library homepage to find materials.

"Milne Search" will bring back materials we currently have available through Geneseo, while "SUNY & Worldwide Libraries" will bring back materials you can request through IDS.

Reference Sources

None of these are what you're looking for? Check out our Ready Reference guide for more sources!