Research Guides

Political Science

Getting Started

Use these resources to find background information on your topic.

Europa Yearbooks

  • Africa South of the Sahara, London, England: Europa Publications Ltd Stacks DT352 .G7
  • Europa World Year Book . London, England : Europa Publications Ltd Reference JN1 .E85 (2008-2009)

The Middle East and Islamic world reader, New York : Grove Press Stacks DS44 .M523 2003

CQ Researcher is noted for its in-depth, unbiased coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. Reports are published weekly.

Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service is "the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a confidential, nonpartisan basis." The CRS prepares studies and reports analyzing a broad spectrum of issues of interest to the work of the Congress. Many of the reports will cover international issues and foreign government topics. These reports are not freely distributed on the Web, but OpenCRS makes available those they can.


Articles and Databases

Online Sources

The following resources are good places to look for background information on countries and organizations and events.

BBC News Country Profiles   This site will provide a guide to the history, politics and economics of countries and territories. Use it to locate backgroud information on important international institutions and NGO's. You can also find audio and video from the BBC archives.

CIA World Factbook Updated on a bi-weekly basis, the CIA Factbook, give a quick snapshot of each nation's demography, economy, government, geography, and other sectors such as transportation, communication, transportation and military.

Country Studies "On-line versions of books previously published in hard copy by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress under the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Army. The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world." While some of these books are dated ( check the title page for the date of publication) they are a good source for information on geograpy, culture, history. The library also has most of these titles in print in our collection.

Findlaw Resources by Country
Use this website to locate government websites of foreign countries. Results may vary depending on country.

Oxford Reference Online A searchable collection of online reference books including specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries and handbooks. Select from appropriate subject headings, for example, Political Science and Social Sciences. 

 U.S. Department of State Background Notes Find facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of independent states, some dependencies, and areas of special sovereignty.

Featured Website

JuriGlobe - World Legal Systems This unique website explores the "diversity of the various legal systems, their languages and their economic and demographic importance in the world."  A major aspect of the site is a map that shows the different types of law that govern the countries of the world.  Across the top of the map are links to explanations of the different types of law, as well as which countries have a combination of laws or a unified system of laws.  The types of law represented on the map are "Civil Law", "Common Law", "Muslim Law", "Customary Law", and "Mixed Systems".  The "Demographic Distribution" link on the left hand side menu illustrates with graphs and tables the percentage in which the world population is represented by the various legal systems.

United Nations

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
UNHCR website.

United Nations Official Document System
Covers all types of official United Nations documentation, beginning in 1993.

United Nations Official Documents System (ODS)
Full-text repository of official documents published by the U.N. Available at NYPL-SIBL.

United Nations Treaty Series
Collection of over 34,000 treaties and international agreements registered or filed and recorded with and published by the Secretariat since 1946. Available at NYPL-SIBL