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HSS 505 - Comparative Government: Introduction & Reference Sources

Start your research here!

Welcome to the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library and the History 505 Comparative Government OWHL Guide.

Researching the social sciences may present different challenges than the research process you are used to in your previous classes. Economists, politicians, lawyers, and social scientists produce a lot of information, and sorting through it to find useful information can be difficult. Here are a few tips to help you get started. 

• Where should I start? In general, you have three options: a specific country (ex: China), an event (ex: Tiananmen Square), or an issue (ex: martial law). You will probably touch upon all three eventually in your research, but one of these will be your first way in. Below are links to various country reports and reference databases that have general info on events and issues. If you are researching a current event or issue, check out the box below with links to news coverage.

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. "A recent World Bank research report states..." Make a note to go and find that research report).

• Use the Full Text Finder. If you have a journal article citation, search for the journal in the Full Text Finder to see if it is available through one of the OWHL's databases. If it isn't available, simply stop by the library and ask for helping submitting an inter-library loan (ILL) request.

Reference Databases: Country Information

General Reference Databases

Current News Coverage

Want to read the New York Times?

All members of the PA community – faculty, staff, and students – have free digital access to the New York Times through the OWHL. Once you register for an account, you will have unlimited access to the Times for one year and can read it via the website or the app (both iPhone and Android).

To register for an account, go to while physically on campus and connected to PA's network. Then create a free account using your PA e-mail address.

If you have any questions or trouble registering, just stop by the OWHL.