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Here you will find many resources to help you with your assignment. Researching current information in economics and political science may be unlike any other research you do at PA. Depending on your individual topic, information can be located anywhere. The process will require some hard work and diligence on your part. But don't worry! This OWHLGuide will help you identify the sources most helpful for your topic.
Below are a few forms that you may find helpful as you begin the Research Process:
Note Taking Form
Use this form to help you record information from a resource. It has space for organizing information as well as significant quotations.
Researching for this course may be different than the research you have done in your other classes. Economists and economic writers produce A LOT of documentation and writing. Sorting through good and bad becomes increasingly important. Here are a few tips to help you find worthwhile things:
- 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 if a source was created by a specific institution (i.e. World Bank) -- you can then go to that institution's website to look for the document.
- 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.
- Go beyond books and articles-- Many of the resources you will need are specialty items. To find the articles, understand some of the differences:
- Policy Reports -- Usually originate from policy centers or think tanks; they offer economic data to support their positions.
- Data and Statistics -- Economists use data and statistics to prove their theories. For example, if you are writing about an increase in GDP spending, you should use data to show an increase in said spending.
- Original Research -- Performed by economists or organizations, these can appear as independent articles, on websites, or in academic journals.
- Working Papers -- As economists and writers work out their theories, they will often publish the results to get feedback
- Academic Journals -- Authors submit their work to be reviewed by other experts in the field of their field of study (peer reviewed). If it is acceptable, it can be published in the journal. This is some of the most well respected and authoritative information.
- Use the Internet -- Much of the current information you will need/use are not available through books or databases (i.e. JSTOR). You will need to use Google. Use it smartly and carefully. Go to specific sites to find information. There is a list on the tabs at the top. Read webpages 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. "A recent World Bank research report states..." -- Go and find that research report).