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Politics and International Political Economy: POST100

Library subject guide for politics, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

Annotated Bibliography Assignment

In this course you asked to read a paper that is provided, and then find other resources on the topic. If you read the original paper before you begin to search for supporting research, you'll have a much better idea of what to search for. It's difficult to search for articles on a topic you don't totally understand yet. Always start with general background reading, including textbook material, and move to more specific resources such as articles when you have a good understanding of the topic.

Finding Books and Articles

You need to find books and scholarly articles on a Politics topic. If you participated in the summer "Library Orientation for New Students" online course, you will have already gained some exposure to scholarly articles and using the Library Catalogue. Now it's time to take it to the next level and find books and articles on your own.

Take the time to read the online tutorials available from our homepage, if you haven't already done so. There are 3 tutorials: Library Catalogue, Keyword Search Techniques, and Finding Articles. They will help you understand what you are doing.

Start your research on the Library homepage: You must always use the links on the Library pages to access databases that Trent subscribes to.

Keywords Are Vital

Before you start to search, think about what you’re going to search for and list some important terms that you’ll use as keywords. The terms you use for your searching will affect the results you get. Think of lots of different ways to express your ideas, because the first word you think of may not be the best search term.

Generally, use broader terms to find books and narrower terms for articles, because articles cover a more focused topic.

Keep in mind that the computer searches for the letters you enter, and not the ideas. If you search for "democratization", it won't find "democracy" or "democratic". Truncating to "democra*" ("democra$" in the Library Catalogue) will include all these terms.

Use the keyword searching techniques you learned in the Keyword Tutorial. Put your terms together with AND to include all terms or OR to find one term or another.

To Find Books In the Library

  • use the Library Catalogue –  (search the search box on the Library's homepage)
  • enter your keywords into the 2nd search box (for keyword searching)
  • look through your results & get the call numbers of the books that look good
  • find the books on the shelves
    • view the signs in the library that tell you which letters are on which floor
    • generally, the Politics books are in the “J” section, but you'll also find books in the "H" section
    • check out books at the Circulation Desk.
    • Don't try to find books that cover every aspect of your exact topic by using ALL your keywords. Break it up and look for books on one aspect or another. Then tie them together in your paper. Use what you've learned in the course, and what you've read in your required readings, to come up with ideas for your topic.
  • These are some of the relevant subject headings in the Library Catalogue. They may help you identify some useful keywords to use in your search:
  • Executive power--United States
    Presidents--United States
    United States--Politics and Government
    Canada--Politics and Government
    Federal Government--Canada
    Canada. Parliament--Powers and Duties
    Prime Ministers--Canada
    Canada--Social Policy
    Social Justice 

To Find Scholarly Articles

  • go to the Articles tab above in this guide
  • click on the link to the Poltical Sciences Databases from EBSCO
  • search using keywords and look at the search results
  • if there is a link to the full text, click there to get the article online
  • if there is no link to the full text, click on Get It! to see if you can access the article through Trent’s other online resources or in print (via the Library Catalogue)
  • note that most of our articles are online and can be accessed via computer from anywhere (but you'll be asked to login if you're working from off-campus).

Keep In Mind

  • This is a creative process that takes time and thought, so results vary with each individual.
  • Scholarly articles are usually quite long and cover a specific topic - they are not general background reading:
    • you won't find recent scholarly articles written on your exact topic - be flexible,
    • you need to read articles and tie in the ideas they express with your topic, your own ideas and the ideas of other scholarly writers.
  • Be sure to cite the work of others appropriately and avoid plagiarism.
  • Start early; the books on the shelves will be gone quickly and you'll need time to think about your topic.

Help At the Library

  • Ask for help at the Library Service desk
  • You can also contact us by phone or email.
  • We can get you going and make sure you understand the process. But you need to do the thinking and the work yourself.