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Political Science

This guide is intended to help you start your research in Political Science. You will find selected online, electronic and print information sources available through the library.

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Search our Library Catalogue for books & films

Take a look at the New Political Science Books list

Summon searches almost all print and online resources in the Library collection. Learn how to refine your searches by watching this short video.

Search Summon for eBooks only

Call numbers help you locate items in the library. You will always find related books shelved together so understanding call numbers can help you find many resources on the shelves.

Call number ranges for political science:

  • HB 501: Capitalism
  • HJ: Public Finance
  • HX 1-970.7: Socialism, Communism & Anarchism
  • J-JC: Political Science (General)
  • JC 11-605: Political Theory
  • JC 329: Patriotism
  • JC 421-458: Democracy
  • JC 474: Totalitarianism
  • JF 51: Comparative Government
  • JF 2011: Political Parties and Electoral Systems
  • JK: United States - Politics and Government
  • JL: Canada - Politics and Government
  • JL 400-439: British Columbia - Politics and Government
  • JS 1701-1800: Canadian Municipal Governments
  • JV 6001-9840: International Migration
  • JZ: International Relations
  • U - V: Military and Naval Science

Reference books are useful as a first step in research - they will provide a quick overview of a topic that will allow you to understand its specific terminology and parameters.

Selected Individual Encyclopedias & Dictionaries; print & online

Who is the author?

  • holds an advanced degree in the subject covered by the book?
  • professional or researcher in the field?
  • is the author affiliated with a university / professional organization?


  • original research
  • literature review
  • advances research in discipline

Cited Sources?

  • bibliography / extensive notes
  • cites other scholarly sources
  • has an index


  • university press
  • scholarly publisher


  • uses terminology of the discipline
  • is written for other scholars / students

You are looking for academic / reliable books for your research essay. Which of the following items would be acceptable?

Pick one of the following
1. Failed states and fragile societies : a new world disorder?: 1 votes (10%)
2. Damned nations : greed, guns, armies, and aid: 0 votes (0%)
3. Women, peace and security : the Canadian NGO experience: 2 votes (20%)
#1 and #2: 3 votes (30%)
#1 and #3: 1 votes (10%)
All items: 3 votes (30%)
Total Votes: 10

What is a "Primary Source"?                                                                                               

Primary sources are original materials. They are first-hand accounts from the time period involved and may include such things as:

  • diaries, letters, photographs, art, maps, original video, film or sound recordings, interviews, or newspaper articles.

How to read and evaluate a primary source

Why study history through primary sources?  

Secondary sources are created after the fact by individuals or groups who did not witness the events being discussed. They interpret, report, or correlate subjects based on their study of primary material. It is inevitable that we all interpret events of the past through the lens of our own experience, but reputable scholars attempt to minimize subjectivity.

How do I find 'Primary Sources' in the Library catalogue?

In the Library Catalogue  use keywords that describe your topic together with any of the following subject headings:

  •    Autobiography / Autobiographies
  •    Correspondence
  •    Diary / Diaries
  •    Interview / Interviews
  •    Journal         
  •    Letter / Letters
  •    Personal narratives
  •    Public opinion
  •    Sources
  •    Speech / Speeches


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