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PLSC 101 (Castaneda)_FA17: Home

Research Paper Assignment

Select a single non-domestic (i.e. foreign) political party or interest group, past or present, and write a research paper.

Librarian Tip

Consider Keywords:

  1. Try multiple searches--typing in different keywords 
  2. Join multiple terms with "and" & "or" ("Workers Party" and Brazil, "Workers Party" or PT)


You can access databases and eBooks if you are off campus by typing in your SURF ID and password.

The Research Process

Choosing a specific non-domestic political party or interest group:

  1. Need ideas on how to get started? Check out the World Factbooks Political Parties and Leaders for a listing of significant political parties, coalitions, and electoral lists.

Looking for reference material:

  1. Once you've chosen which political party or special interest group to research, start looking for the basics about your topic using online reference databases such as Gale Virtual Reference Library, Oxford Reference Online, Country Watch, and CultureGrams.


  1. Oxford Handbook Series: Scholary Research Reviews is a particularly valuable sources as it contains in-depth, high-level articles by scholars at the top of their field.  MiraCosta College Library has access to the history and political science collections.


  1. You can also use print reference sources, such as:

Finding historical sources (primary or secondary):


Books and ebooks:

  1. Use the library catalog to find books and full-text eBooks on your topic. 
  2. MiraCosta's eBooks can be accessed from home just like any database.

Articles: Exploring your topic in depth

Try OneSearch for an expansive search through many different periodical databases and book catalogs or go below to search single databases such as World History in Context, JSTOR, and the New York Times.


  • EBSCOhost
    1. Try the Advanced Search to combine multiple keywords
    2. Remember to check the box for Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals when you want to limit your results to just scholarly journal articles
  • JSTOR (all scholarly journals)
    1. Select Item Type: Article, under "Narrow By"
    2. To find an article from a political science journal, scroll down to "Journal Filter Narrow by Discipline and/or Journal" and click on Political Science
  • Lexis-Nexis Academic
    1. Use the "Search the News" box (includes journals, magazines, and many news sources)
    2. Lexis-Nexis is a good resource for legal, business, and political information.
  • Global Issues in Context
    1. Articles, topic overviews, and primary sources on topics of global interest
  • World History in Context
    1. Articles, topic overviews, and primary sources on topics in World history
  • New York Times - Historical
    1. Articles from the NYT from 1851 to 2012; use the ProQuest Newspapers link for current news articles

Check out additional Databases by Subject under the Search navigation tab on Library Home.