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POL 320 — Urban Government Policy Choices

ATTENTION: This research guide was last modified on October 10, 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 Information on how to access journal articles, databases, and other library resources may be inaccurate or outdated.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


Concepts and questions for beginning research

Advice for searching library databases

Magazine, journal and newspaper articles online

Search Tips

APA Style

Finding quality websites

LIBRARY GUIDES (.doc format)

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 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.

  • Magazine, journal and newspaper articles online

    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 journal indexes and data collections:

    • ProQuest ABI/Inform Global and Trade-Industry: Extensive indexing and full text articles in the areas of public policy, urban planning and political analysis. 
    • 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.
    • OxResearch: Provides analytical articles covering world and regional economic and political developments of major significance. Evaluates issues and events within a coherent political, social, and economic framework.
    • CQ Researcher : Provides exhaustive reports on current topics and pending state and federal legislation.
    • Science Direct: Scholarly journal articles in the areas of political science, political theory, business administration and others.
    • PAIS International : 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.
    • Military & Government Collection: thorough collection of periodicals, academic journals and other content.
    • Business Source Premier : A thorough collection of periodicals, academic journals, and other current news pertinent to business, economics, management, finance and other related areas.
    • JSTOR: Peer reviewed journal articles on a wide range of social sciences topics.
    • SOCindex: Collection of scholarly articles in sociology and social sciences.
    • Ethnic News Watch* and Gender Watch*: Scholarly research in the areas of women's studies, gender interaction, LGBT studies, and ethnic studies. Includes newspapers and magazines.

    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.
    • WilsonWeb: OmniFile Full-Text Mega*: Another multi-subject index. Lots of 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)

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

    Search Tips

    Combining keywords

    • 1. AND: government AND bailout AND states
      2. OR: octuplets OR multiples
      3. NOT: court NOT supreme
  • Phrase searching"" ( "federal trade deficit", "Arnold Schwartzenegger")
  • Advanced Search: Use this frequently to determine your search options. This will save you TIME and FRUSTRATION!
  • Remember, the more words you use to search or the more limits you place on a search, the fewer results you will get. (How can you get more results?)

  • APA Style

    Every formal research paper includes a list of bibliographic citations describing the books, articles and other sources consulted. This list gives credit to those whose ideas you have referred to or quoted, presents information your readers can use to find further information and gives your paper scholarly authority. To avoid having to track down any missing information needed for your bibliography or list of works cited, be sure to record the necessary information (on file cards or in a computer file) about every source you consult as you are doing your research.

    You must cite a book or article whenever you directly quote from it, but you should also cite it when you are just paraphrasing. Interviews should also be cited.

    APA style is the citation and formatting style created and used by the American Psychological Association. This comprehensive guide from the librarians at CSULA will help you use the APA citation style. 

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

    Click here for our tutorial on citing sources.

    Finding quality websites

    Most of these sites 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.

    • Legislative Analyst's Office : Socioeconomic, fiscal and political analyses of California congressional bills, ballot initiatives. and other measures from the March 1996 election to the present. 
    • 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.
    • Infomine (infomine.ucr.edu): 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 Internet Index : Web index created by information professionals, all sites have been evaluated and approved by research professionals.
    • Evaluating Information on the Web: This 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.

    LIBRARY GUIDES (.doc format)

     Finding journal articles using Academic Search Premier (advanced search/retrieval methods, Interlibrary Loan)

    Accessing databases from off campus

    What is a Literature Review?

    Searching Google (advanced Internet search methods)

    OR click here to download ALL FOUR GUIDES with BONUS MATERIAL! (10pgs.)