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PUB 506 — Administration and Public Policy Analysis

ATTENTION: This research guide was last modified on March 03, 2009, before the January 2012 redesign of the library's home page. Information on how to access journal articles, databases, and other library resources may be inaccurate or outdated.

For up-to-date instructions on accessing materials, please visit our tutorial pages instead.


Contact Information

Caroline Bordinaro







Where to Start: What's your research question? What information do you need to find?

Who cares about the same information? (e.g.: researchers, historians, government, etc.) What kind of information do they need? Where would they get it?

What resource are you currently using? Why is it important to know? Is there a better tool for the job? Are you using it in the most efficient/effective way?

Rules and advice

  • Search Concepts - creating an effective search
    1. Take your research question and circle the "important words" (keywords).
    2. Think of at least three synonyms for each keyword.
    3. Use these words in various combinations to get a good result (between 10-45 results is optimal).
  • Find index descriptors attached to useful article citations- redo your search with these "Official Database Topic Terms"
  • Always use the E-Mail, Print and Save functions embedded within the database window. It is usually not a good idea to use the File-Print or File-Save As functions in the upper left hand corner of the browser.
  • All databases function essentially the same way and have similar features.
  • If you can't find anything: don't freak out and go to Google! Ask a reference librarian for help


DATABASE: An organized collection of information, especially electronic information.

ONLINE JOURNAL INDEX: A database that contains magazine, newspaper and journal articles e.g: Academic Search Premier

JOURNAL (also SCHOLARLY JOURNAL): Articles usually reviewed by experts in the field before publication; published for an academic or research audience; narrow focus; e.g.; American Journal of Psychology

MAGAZINE: Publication of general interest: popular interest and broad subjects (e.g: Psychology Today)

ABSTRACT: a brief summary of the main content of an article

FULL TEXT: the complete article. Click on the button to see if the Full Text is available.

CITATION: the essential information about a periodical article or book. May include article title, author, publication name, date, pages, volume/issue, publisher.


Online indexes must be accessed through the CSUDH library homepage (library.csudh.edu). Select Journal Articles & Electronic Resources; You may either browse by subject area or go to your favorite resource using the Alphabetical List.

NOTE: These are subscription online journal indexes, selected and provided specifically for CSUDH students. To access from home, please see our How to Log in to the Databases from Off-Campus guide for instructions.

Recommended discipline indexes:

  • PAIS International: indexes journal articles and other research in the areas of public affairs, public and social policies and international relations.(Challenging to search)
  • Social Sciences Full Text*: includes articles in sociology, political science, public administration, and other areas of the social sciences.
  • SocINDEX*: offers coverage from all subdisciplines of sociology, including criminology, cultural sociology, demography, economic development, ethnic & racial studies, gender studies, politics, social psychology, social structure, urban studies, welfare, and others.
  • JSTOR: Peer reviewed journal articles on a wide range of social sciences topics.
  • Project Muse: Collection of scholarly articles in the humanities and social sciences with a global and historical focus.
  • Science Direct: Peer reviewed research in a variety of sciences. Includes articles accepted but not yet published.
  • ABI/Inform: indexes international business articles in magazines, scholarly and trade journals, newsletters and reports.
  • Business Source Premier: A thorough collection of periodicals, academic journals, and other current news pertinent to business, economics, management, finance and other related areas.
  • Oxford Journals: collections cover life sciences, medicine, social sciences, humanities, and Law, and include some of the most authoritative journals in their fields.
  • Military and Government Collection: a thorough collection pertinent to the increasing needs of all branches of the military and government, full text for nearly 300 publications.
  • Wiley Interscience: over 300 leading scientific, technical, medical, and professional journals.

Recommended general interest indexes:

  • Academic Search Premier*: Our most popular general index. Many full-text articles. Easy search and retrieval. Many older articles.
  • ProQuest Databases*: Excellent multi-subject index, with many full-text articles. Very easy to search.
  • CQ Researcher: complete reports on controversial health related topics and federal legislation
  • WilsonWeb OmniFile Full-Text Mega*: Another multi-subject index. Many articles in full-text.
*To limit search to peer-reviewed journals only, look for check box next to Peer-Reviewed, Scholarly Journals, or Academic Journals on database search screen (may be in Advanced Search)

Search Tips:

  • Combining Keywords

1. AND: smallpox AND policies AND gss 
2. OR: hunger OR famine
3. NOT: abortion NOT incest

  • Phrase searching"" : "General Social Survey"
  • Advanced Search: Use this frequently to determine your search options. This will save you TIME and FRUSTRATION!

Not sure how to search? Use our How To Find Articles help page for assistance.

BONUS!! Check out the series "How to Read A Paper" on various types of research articles and what to look for in them. (also available as a print or electronic book)


The websites and indexes have been checked for accuracy, timeliness, stability, and will generally conform to the standards of academic research. However, please be judicious in the use of websites in general, because anybody can put anything on the web.

  • Evaluating Information on the Web: Here is a very good checklist from the Pasadena City College Library for judging the quality of not only information on the Internet, but any information you may want to use for an assignment.
  • : A project from the Univeristy of California and other universities, it is a searchable index of websites specifically appropriate for university research. Click on SocSci & Humanities to search their specialized index.
  • Librarian's Index to the Internet (www.lii.org) : Index of websites reviewed by librarians, geared toward the general public. Choose a topic from the index or use Advanced Search to search for keywords.
  • CSUDH Humanities Internet Guide (library.csudh.edu/cyberlib/human.htm) : Resource guide for humanities sites on the Internet compiled by CSUDH librarians.
  • Fedstats : provides access to the full range of official statistical information produced by the Federal Government. Searching and linking capablilties to more than 100 agencies that provide data and trend information on such topics as economic and population trends, crime, education, health care, aviation safety, energy use, farm production and more.
  • California Senate Office of Research : These full text reports are "studies by public university academicians on policy issues of interest to the Calif. State Senate". Issues include affirmative action, reproductive rights, the energy crisis, homelessness, and specific health issues.  Browse by subject or year.  Also contains links to other public policy data on the web.
  • World Development Indicators : From the World Bank. Search on 54 timeseries indicators for 208 countries and 18 groups, spanning the latest 5 years available.
  • International Statistical Agencies has web links to statistical sites for other countries.
  • TheUnited Nations has population and economic statistics in tables (text version loads quicker)
  • Eurostat : The statistics gathering office of the European Community.