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PUB 300 — Foundations of Public Administration - Fall 2011 (Prof. Riddick)

ATTENTION: This research guide was last modified on February 02, 2011, 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 Information on how to access journal articles, databases, and other library resources may be inaccurate or outdated.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


CSUDH Library Website and Information

Concepts and questions for beginning research

Advice for searching library databases

Finding Journal Articles at CSUDH

Finding Useful Books & Ebooks

Avoiding Plagiarism

APA Citation Style

Scholarly Internet Research and Useful Public Administration Websites

General Research Tips

CSUDH Library Website and Information

Start your research by going to the CSUDH Library Home Page.

Site Organization:

Main - Here you will find the most-used links and information
Use the Library - Links to pages which will help you use the library
Help - Basic Library Information and Help pages
Services & Depts. - Services the library offers and departmental web pages

Library Information:

Concepts and questions for beginning research

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?

Types of information available

  • Books
  • Articles from journals, magazines and newspapers
  • Websites
  • Newsletters
  • Reports

Advice for searching library databases


  • 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): Scholarly publication, articles usually reviewed by experts in the field before publication; published for an academic audience; narrow focus; deeply researched 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 FindItCSUDH button to see if the Full Text is available.
  • CITATION: the basic information you need to find the full text of an article. Includes author, article title, date, name of publication, volume/issue, pages.
Search Concepts - creating an effective search
- Take your research question and circle the "important words" (keywords).
- Think of at least three synonyms for each keyword.
- Use these words in various combinations to get a good result (between 10-45 results is optimal).

Click here for more search tips.


Rules and more advice

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.

Finding Journal Articles at CSUDH

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.

Click on the FindItCSUDH button to see if the Full Text is available. If there are no databases containing the article you want, you can request it via Inter-Library Loan.

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.

Public Administration Article Databases:

  • Business Source Premier -  more than 3,000 full text scholarly publications, including nearly 1,000 peer-reviewed journals, as well as indexing and abstracts for nearly 3,800 journals;  information in nearly every area of business including public administration, management, economics, finance, accounting, international business, and more.
  • JSTOR - a continuously growing and updated electronic retrospective archive of over 30 scholarly journals in public policy and administration as well as over 300 in the area of business. All articles are available in digitized full text,  from the first issue of the journal to the most current one to five year "moving wall."
  • ABI/INFORM - over 1800 worldwide business periodicals cover business and economic conditions, management techniques, theory, and practice of business, economics, human resources, finance, taxation, computers, and more.
  • SocINDEX - 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 more-includes full text for 235 "core" journals, as well as full text for books and conference papers.
  • PAIS (Public Affairs Intenational Services): The Public Affairs Information Service contains references to a vast array of scholarly and professional sources. (no newspapers or newsletters) International in scope. Covers publications from 1972 - present. Click on the "Find it @CSUDH Lib" button to find the article full text.

Newspaper Databases:

  • ProQuest Newspapers (1988 - current) - Full text of 300+ U.S. and international news sources. Includes coverage of 150+ major U.S. and international newspapers such as The New York Times and the Times of London, plus hundreds of other news sources and news wires.
  • Los Angeles Times (1988 - current) - Full text of the LA Times from 1988 to current.
  • Lexis-Nexis - Complete full text magazine, newspaper, scholarly and professional journal articles from all areas of political science research, local, state and national legislation and many other issues.

Finding Useful Books & Ebooks

Go to TOROFIND: the CSUDH Library Catalog and search on the title, author, subject or keyword. Look not only for that specific call number, but also check out the books in that section.

  • In the drop-down menu under "Find a Book Now", select "Search by Subject".
  • In the text area to the right, type in Public Administration. 
  • For a list of other similar subjects, click the  Public Administration -- 20 Related Subjects  link.
  • For a list of general Public Administration books, click the  Public Administration link.
  • Select "Sort by year - newest to oldest" and click the "Sort" button to see a list of books with the most recent books first.

If you don't see the right item listed, or want more titles, try an on a few keywords (in separate boxes).  If you still don't find the right book, ask a reference librarian.

Many of the newest books on your subject will be ebooks, books that have been scanned in and which you can access from home using the library website.

Direct links to useful ebooks:

Avoiding Plagiarism

What is plagiarism? - Plagiarism is "The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft." (OED)

When you quote or paraphrase from somebody else's work without citing it, you are plagiarizing their work. Plagiarism is a serious matter, and could result in a lower or failing grade and even in your expulsion from university. Just rewording your work isn't enough to avoid plagiarism. Since you are still borrowing information heavily from another writer, you still need to include a citation.

But I didn't know! - Ignorance of the law is unfortunately no excuse. You can commit plagiarism without meaning to, and it's just as serious a problem if you do.

How can I avoid it? - You can avoid plagiarism by always citing your sources. Whenever you put a quotation or borrow information heavily from a source, be sure you include a citation in the proper APA style. This will let your professor know you aren't trying to pass the idea off as your own. Taking detailed notes on where you get your information helps a lot with this, since it prevents you from forgetting which is your own work and which is borrowed from others.

For more information, see your student handbook and this Avoiding Plagiarism Handout.

APA Citation Style

APA style
is the citation and formatting style created and used by the American Psychological Association. Not all citation styles are the same, so be sure to ask your professors which they want you to use! Other styles include MLA style and Turabian.

Click here for a cheat-sheet on APA citation style.

See the APA Formatting and Style Guide from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) for a much more in-depth guide.

Scholarly Internet Research and Useful Public Administration Websites

Remember, not all web sites are created equally. Some sites can be valid sources of information, but others are filled with opinion represented as fact. While there isn't a 100% effective way to figure out what kind of site you're looking at, here are some guidelines to follow when using the internet for research:

  • Check Credibility - Is it easy to figure out who's behind the information? Does whomever it is know what they're talking about? Do they have qualifications in the field or some other reason to be trust-worthy in it?
  • Check Accuracy - Are the sources cited well? Is the information up-to-date? Are there any broad, sweeping generalisations that are impossible to verify?
  • Check Reasonableness - What is the page's point-of-view? Is it a corporate page trying to sell you a product? Is it a government or educational site where the main purpose is to educate people?
  • Check Support - Is it possible to double-check the information in another location?

Useful Scholarly Websites

INFOMINE is a virtual library of Internet resources relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level. It contains useful Internet resources such as databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, mailing lists, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and many other types of information.

The Internet Public Library (IPL2) aims to provide a well-organized point of access for reliable, trustworthy, librarian-selected websites, serving California, the nation, and the world. All links on the Index are selected and approved by librarians before inclusion.

For more information, check out our guide on Evaluating Web Resources

Useful Public Administration Websites:

Public Agenda Online
Public Agenda is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public opinion research and citizen education organization based in New York City. It was founded in 1975 by social scientist and author Daniel Yankelovich and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.

The Brookings Institution
A private, independent, nonprofit research organization which seeks to improve the performance of American institutions, the effectiveness of government programs and the quality of U.S. public policies.

Economic Policy Institute
The Economic Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy.

Public Administration Theory Network (PAT-Net)
An international network of professionals interested in the advancement of public administration theory.

A nonprofit institution that seeks to improve public policy through research and analysis. Online access to RAND Abstracts and to the full text of selected reports, issue papers, research briefs and other RAND publications, as well as a link to the full text of the RAND Research Review, which reports on public policy issues studied in RAND's research program

American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)
ASPA, established in 1939, is the largest and most prominent professional association in the field of public administration. The web site offers information about the association and its activities, fulltext of one of its publications, PA Times, and indexing to the other, the Public Administration Review.

General Research Tips

Try a number of different search terms - Remember, not every database or article uses exactly the same words to describe the same thing. Make sure you try several synonyms for the term you're trying to find. Many databases have a link titled "thesaurus" or "subject terms" which you can use to find out what words to search for.

Search in multiple places - The more places you look for information, the more information you're likely to find. Don't just search in one database and assume it's all you'll be able to find! Take a look at the list of Useful Databases earlier on in this page for ideas on where to start your search.

Ask for help - Don't be afraid to ask for help! Research can be an exhausting process, and sometimes a fresh perspective will make your task immensely easier. You can stop by the reference desk in the library and ask any of the reference librarians for help with your research. You can also submit an online help request which a librarian will answer within a day or two.

Don't leave it until the last minute - The earlier you start, the better your paper will be. Starting early gives you plenty of time to read and absorb the information so that you'll be properly informed when writing your paper.