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PSCI 210 - Introduction to American Government: Locating Scholarly Information

Library Databases

Op-Ed Assignment

You're writing a op-ed piece on one of 5 topics:

  • Thesis 1: The Constitution should be amended to provide for term limits for members of Congress in both houses.
  • Thesis 2: The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United has been beneficial for democracy.
  • Thesis 3: Congressional earmarks should be banned.
  • Thesis 4: The United States should abandon plurality, winner-take-all elections.
  • Thesis 5: Campaigns do not affect the outcomes of elections.

The Library has databases that can help you gather information on your topic:

Academic Search Complete - Includes scholarly articles, magazines, newspapers, government reports, and books on a variety of topics. It is a good starting point for this assignment.

Business Source Complete - It's not just business here.  This resource includes public policy issues and different perspectives on issues related to this assignment.

CQ Researcher - Offers in-depth, non-biased coverage of  important issues. Each report is on a single topic -- more than 12,000 words of text and extensive bibliographies. Includes arguments on both sides of an issue (see "pros/cons" on the left hand side of reports). Each weekly issue provides up-to-date information on controversial subjects written by CQ's staff of experienced reporters.

Opposing Viewpoints - This database contains book chapters, articles, statistics and news articles representing both sides of an issue.

LexisNexis Academic - Use LN Academic to locate law review articles on your topic.  To search for law reviews:

  • Open LexisNexis Academic,
  • Click on US legal along the left side of the screen
  • Click on Law Reviews

Newspaper Source Plus -- Search for an "editorial" from the "document type drop-down list.  You can further refine your search by limiting to a particular newspaper such as the New York Times.

CatSearch -- Search across the many databases listed above all in one place AND get books in your results, too!


Many organizations have websites from which you may be able to download studies or reports. Below are links to some think tanks. Think tanks often have a distinct ideological perspective; you will want to keep that in mind as you evaluate their reports. The same applies to documents on trade association or similar websites that describe these organization’s positions on particular issues.

Another definition:

A quasi-private, non-teaching academic and policy institute usually, though not always, affiliated with a major political party. At best, they can be generators of legislative and foreign policy ideas. More often, they are career parking places for potential officials in a new administration who are affixed to the party currently in opposition. (Source: think tank. (2002). In Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations. Retrieved from

Examples of think tanks:





Subject Guide

Doralyn Rossmann
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