Political Science: Library Research Guide

International Relations/Country Studies – Political Science



Use reference sources for background information, broad overviews and summaries. The reference collection includes general and subject dictionaries and encyclopedias, biographies, directories, almanacs, atlases, etc. Many also contain bibliographies for further research. Reference books cannot be checked out from the library but may be photocopied.

Selected Reference Book Titles:

Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience REF DT14.A37435 2005 v. 1-5

CultureGrams REF GT150 .C85 2008

Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity REF HV6322.7.E532 2005 v. 1-2

Encylopedia of Latin American History & Culture REF F1406 .E53 1996

Encyclopedia of Modern Asia REF DS4 .L48 2002

Encyclopedia of Russian History REF DK14.E53 2004 v.1-4

Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East & North Africa REF DS43 .E53 2004

Encyclopedia of the World’s Nations REF G63 .K874 2002

Encyclopedia of Urban Cultures REF HT108.5 .E53 2002

Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities REF JA61.G645 2006 v. 1-3

Nutrition and Health in Developing Countries REF RA645.N87.N847 2001

Political Handbook of Africa 2007 REF JQ1875.P63 2007

Political Handbook of Europe 2007 REF JN12.P584 2007

Political Handbook of the Middle East 2006 REF JQ1758.A58 P65 2006

Statistical Handbook on the World's Children REF HQ767.9.K38 2002



Use the online catalog to find materials in the library. This will show all the books and audiovisual materials LPC Library owns. Search for a book or video by the author, title, subject, or keyword. Use a subject search to find books about a topic or a person. Also ADD LIMITS (e.g., “audiovisual”) to the search to find only videorecordings.

Examples of keywords to use when searching the online catalog:

Example: afghanistan and human rights

Name of country plus:

  • environmentalism/environment issues/environmental policy
  • economic conditions
  • education
  • human rights
  • women
  • children
  • globalization
  • international aid/humanitarian aid (or assistance)
  • security/national security

Selected Book Titles:

The Third World: Opposing Viewpoints HC59.T452 2006

The Role of NGOs: Charity and Empowerment HV20.D44 1997

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It                                       

HC79 .P6 C634 2007

Developing Nations (Current Controversies) HC59.7.D427 2007

The Power and Limits of NGOs:A Critical Look at Building Democracy in Eastern Europe and Eurasia       

JN96.A58 P69 2002

The Real Environmental Crisis  HC79.E5H648 2003

The Real World of NGOs: Discourses, Diversity, and Development [Philippines] HQ1240.5 .P6 H56 2003

Current books on specific countries:

A Brief History of Afghanistan DS356.W34 2006

Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook F1788.H38 2008

Brazil: A Global Studies Handbook F2509.5.E39 2008

Pakistan: A Global Studies Handbook DS376.0.M64 2007

Central Asia: A Global Studies Handbook DS327.5.H36 2005

The Philippines: A Global Studies Handbook DS655.W66 2006

Thailand: A Global Studies Handbook DS563.5.H63 2004

India: A Global Studies Handbook DS407.B63 2004

Indonesia: A Global Studies Handbook DS615.L36 2003

China: A Global Studies Handbook DS706.C4893 2003

Vietnam: A Global Studies Handbook DS556.3.W66 2002

Nepal and Bangladesh: A Global Studies Handbook DS393.4.S55 2002

The Koreas: A Global Studies Handbook DS902.C65 2002



Periodicals provide in-depth analyses of events and trends, research studies on particular subjects, and professional literature. Find magazine, journal, and newspaper articles by searching LPC Library’s online databases. These electronic databases can be accessed in the LPC Library or from the LPC Library’s homepage.

To understand the differences between popular magazines and scholarly journals, consult Scholarly Journals or Popular Magazines: What are the Differences? LPC Library Short Guide.

Search the following databases for information on countries:


CountryReviews is an up-to-date series of publications for each country including demographic, political, economic, business, cultural and environmental information. CountryWire provides daily news coverage for every country in the world and a significant news archive made up of the compendium of regional news carriers.

Academic Search Complete

Multi-disciplinary database containing thousands of full-text articles on social, scientific, health, historic, business, economic, political and global issues from magazines, journals, and newspapers. Searches can be limited to retrieve materials from peer-reviewed journals.

Sample search: Burundi and economy

Opposing Viewpoints

Reference database containing full-text articles exploring many international issues. Includes full-text articles from magazines and journals as well as major U.S. papers (e.g., NYT).

Sample search: China and globalization

Ethnic NewsWatch

Full-text journal, magazine, & newspaper articles from the ethnic, minority & native press

Sample search: Bolivia and environment


Full-text journal, magazine, & newspaper articles focus on the impact of gender on culture and society.

Sample search: women and Somalia


Internet resources can supplement or enhance your research. The quality of Web sources varies tremendously on the Internet, therefore check the information against another source. As with all information resources, whether in print or on the Internet, evaluate a source’s quality based on the following criteria:

  • Accuracy.................. Is it free from mistakes and errors?
  • Authority.................. What are the qualifications of the author?
  • Objectivity................ Is there any strong bias?
  • Currency ................. Is the information up-to-date?
  • Coverage .................. To what extent is the topic explored?

Start your Web research by searching in the following subject directories:

Infomine: Scholarly Internet Resources Collection

Sample search: Zimbabwe and environment

The following selected websites feature country profiles, comparative government, and information about intergovernmental government organizations (IGOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), multinational companies (MNCs), and transnational corporations (TNCs).

Country Studies:

Background Notes In-depth country information covering history, government, and politics. Kept current. From the U.S. Department of State.

BBC World News Edition: Country Profiles Thumbnail descriptions. See International Organisations (drop-down menu at bottom of page).

globalEDGE Includes country profiles, with business climate, history and politics, and statistics. From Michigan State University.

INCORE Internet Country Guides "Internet resources on conflict and ethnicity specific to particular countries and regions."

International Monetary Fund: Country Information IMF reports and publications arranged by country.

Library of Congress Country Studies Click on “Choose a Country Study” to see date of report (e.g., Bangladesh). Click on “Portals to the World” for historical, social, economic, and cultural topics (e.g., Paraguay/Geography & Environment. Note: Some sites in Spanish).

Comparative Government: Briefings Political structure, political forces, news stories, fact sheets, statistics, and links to official government sites.

Elections and Electoral Systems Around the World Contains worldwide election information. Part of the Political Science Resources page at the University of Keele in the United Kingdom.

MSU Global Access Database of web sites and other resources by experts at Michigan State University. Country pages include basic facts, news headlines, and more.

Vincent Ferraro, Resources for the Study of International Relations and Foreign Policy Thousands of links to materials pertinent to virtually all aspects of international relations.

The World Factbook Online version of the reference book by the same name. Check "What's New" on web site for updated country information. From the CIA.



Corporate Watch A small independent not-for-profit company that researches the social and environmental impact of large corporations, particularly multinationals.

ReliefWeb Information (including documents and maps) on humanitarian emergencies and disasters. ReliefWeb is administered by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Global Policy Forum Click on NGOs link.

International Governmental Organizations (IGO) Documents From Perkins Library, Duke University.

Materials on International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) and Law in the MSU Libraries: Information by Organization

Multinational Monitor A monthly online magazine devoted primarily to examining the activities of multinational companies.

Multinational/Transnational Corporations: Directory of Transnational Corporations Click on Geographic Index.

NGO Research Guide Click on NGO Geography or Civil Society Issues. From Perkins Library, Duke University.

The WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources: Nongovernmental Organizations

The WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources: Other Intergovernmental Organizations


The following websites provide lists of Less-Developed Countries (LDCs):

The Least Developed Countries Provides the criteria for identifying a country as an LDC.

List of Least Developed Countries Provided by the UN.




Keep printouts of your sources, or write out all pertinent information on author, title, publisher, date, or Internet address to identify where you got the information. Follow the format recommended by your instructor. See the link to instructions for MLA or APA citations and how to create them in NoodleBib on the LPC Library Homepage: Citation Style Guides.

Sample of a Full-Sentence Outline

How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography (Cornell University Library)

Writing an Annotated Bibliography (University of Toledo University Libraries)

Citing Tips

  • Do not put numbers (1, 2, 3) in front of your citations
  • Citations must be doublespaced with the second line of the citation indented 1/2 inch
  • When creating citations from articles from LPC Library databases do not put a URL or DOI or Accession number in the citation
  • If there are CAPS for an article title or an author's name do not put CAPS in the citation use upper/lower case letters
  • Follow the rules for your citations

In-Text (Parenthetical) Citations

How should In-Text Citations look in MLA and APA

  • Hint: When citing a website inside of your paper do NOT use the URL use the name of the article/webpage.

Page last modified: July 03, 2014