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Political Science & Public Policy

This guide is geared toward explaining and understanding politics and public policy

Scholarly Resources vs. Popular Resources

Source: "Study Help: Scholarly Sources Explained" by University of South Australia; Accessed 3/27/2023

Searching Databases

The Lyman Beecher Brooks Library (LBBL) can connect you with hundreds of databases to help you build general knowledge, to perform background research, to connect your with scholarly resources, and even find some entertainment with streaming movies and audio.

Many databases are specific to content type or discipline and will have specific best practices and strategies for getting the best search results. Visit the Library 101 - Advanced Research Techniques guide to learn more.

Note that you may need to authenticate through OpenAthens using your MyNSU login credentials in order to access content.
For more information, visit the following guide How to Access Databases from Off-Campus.

All students, faculty, and staff at NSU have access to FREE subscriptions to the Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Sign up for an account to have access to current and archival coverage from some of the world's best news outlets. Please visit the following guide for details: Newspaper Digital Subscriptions for Students, Faculty, and Staff

In addition to the newspaper subscriptions above, the NSU research databases include access to historical newspapers, news aggregators, and business reporting platforms. Try out the following resources or visit the full A-Z database list for more: A-Z Databases

Reference databases are a great place to start your research. These databases include resources that are perfect for background information and broad coverage of topics, such as: encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, and manuals.

Try out some of the reference databases below to get started or visit the full database list here: A-Z Databases

NSU research databases include access to current and historical resources ranging from primary resources to scholarly books and peer-reviewed articles.

Try out some of the research databases below to get started or visit the full database list here: A-Z Databases

Major research platforms that cover multiple disciplines include EBSCOhost and Proquest:

Primary resource databases include items such as original works and digitized historical materials:

The library offers a wide variety of audio / visual databases from instructional lab videos to popular movies and jazz music.

Try out some of the audio / visual databases below to get started or visit the full database list here: A-Z Databases


Running a basic search in JSTOR is similar to searching in Wikipedia. You can use general keywords and phrases in your search and JSTOR will return results across its full collection that include some or all of your keywords. 

JSTOR landing page and search.


On the results page, the left-side menu can be used to filter your results. Check the "Content I can Access" button to access full-text articles.

JSTOR refine results by "content I can access" radial button.

Clicking the "Advanced Search" button above the search box opens an new page with additional options to control what kinds of results your search will return.

JSTOR Advanced Search page.

Use the provided Advanced Search fields, dropdown menus, and material types boxes to refine your search.

JSTOR also provides a Search Help page that provides specific overview of the advanced tools available on the platform. Examples include using Boolean Operators, Truncation, Wildcards, and Proximity searching.

In addition to standard database searching, JSTOR includes several tools that can be used for exploring your topic, discovering resources, and extracting data from the JSTOR collection. Each of these resources can be found in the Tools menu in the upper-right portion of any search page.

  • Text Analyzer:

JSTOR Text Analyzer landing page.

  • This feature allows you to upload a document that includes text (an article, your own paper, or even a picture of a page of  a book) and the platform will analyze the text for topics and terms before presenting you with related materials in JSTOR's collection and an adjustable dashboard. This is a tool that can help with document discovery and topic explorations, but remember that this is an accessory to performing your own searches and you should always be wary of machine generated results and be sure to verify any sources that the system suggests.
  • The results dashboard has a different appearance form the normal search results page. The search filters for this feature are at the top of the results list in a dropdown menu and includes publication year, content type, and the "Content I can access" checkbox.
  • Learn more about Text Analyzer on the about page:


  • The JSTOR Understanding series:

JSTOR understanding series landing page.

  • ​​​​​​​The JSTOR Understanding series presents primary resources with passages highlighted to indicate resources in JSTOR that have quoted the passage and provides links to those articles. This tool can be used to explore the scholarly interpretation of primary works, brainstorm topics, and learn about primary resources.


  • Data for Research:

Data for Research landing page.​​​​​​​

  • The Data for Research tool uses Constellate, a JSTOR Labs project, to provide text analysis and text mining access to the JSTOR collection that can be used to create datasets such as term frequency over time and prevalence within a subject.
  • This resource also provides built in visualization tools for your data set.

JSTOR offers a full LibGuides site of research guides to help researchers make the most of the platform. These assistance tools can be found in the page footer of any page by clicking the "LibGuides" or "Research Basics" links.

JSTOR LibGuides home page.