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HSS 538 - When States Fail: Articles / Papers

Finding Articles in Economics

Researching for this assignment can be a bit different than research you've done in other classes. Economists love to write and many of the articles may be 40-50 pages. Don't be intimidated! Many of those pages will be charts and graphs. Here are a few tips to help you find worthwhile things:

  • Use the Internet-- You may be able to find recent research and new discoveries on the World Wide Web. Instead of just using Google, use the specialized search engines listed on the Websites Box on the Reports, Statistics, & Data tab. Read web pages carefully for original research.  
  • Always read carefully -- As you read reports, blogs, articles, etc... Look for words that will point you in the right direction for other research (i.e. "One study performed by the UN states..." -- Go and find that article!
  • Bibliographic Mining -- Look at the bibliographies of the materials you already have. This is a  great place to find additional resources that will be helpful to your paper.  Looking at the citation information of the bibliography, you can usually determine from where that source originates.
  • Use the Journal Finder -- The Journal Finder will search for journal and magazine titles available through the OWHL's databases and print collection. It can tell you if the particular year and /or volume of a journal is available.

Research Tip

What is a working paper?

Working papers are usually the first place that original economics research appears.  Many of the working papers will later be presented at conferences or published in a formal academic journal.

Search FAQ

Why can't I find anything?
There is a ton of political science/economics information out there but you will need to search carefully. The first step is starting in the right place. Don't be afraid to use Advanced Search options to limit your searches to specific subject areas and full text availability. Instead of just using keywords, you may need to be very specific in your searches.


Can I access databases off campus?
Yes. When you are off campus, you will be asked to enter your PA ID number and a PIN. The PIN is a 4-digit number created for you at the library. If you are a day student or plan on doing work off campus, stop by the Circ Desk and get a PIN.


What is Full-Text?
Full text means that you will be able to read/view the entire text of the article - not just an index entry or abstract.


What is the Journal Finder?
The Journal Finder will search the OWHL collections (online and print) for the titles of specific journals. To use, enter the title of the journal you want to find

Article Databases

Databases contain articles from research journals and professional magazines. Typically, these papers are scholarly and peer reviewed. Most of the articles in the following databases are not available on the "free web" and can be accessed only through the Library.

Working Papers and Research Essays

There is a lot of research and articles freely available through the Internet. The following websites attempt to organize and "make available" this information to the public.

Think Tanks and Policy Centers

These organizations produce reports and studies, typically in support of a specific policy. Although they can have a slanted point of view, they will typically provide arguments of the "other side" and extensive bibliographies.