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Library Resources for GVPT Students

guide to government & politics research

Always think about different  ways to say the same thing.  Start with keywords to describe your topic, within results, read  the abstract and look at the subject headings to identify additional keywords to use and revise the search (if needed).
Retrieve too many results? Limit to scholarly articles, limit words to subject

Search Strategies: 
Start with keywords (place phrases in quotes), use connectors (or / and) and look for the subject headings specific to each database.

place phrases in quotes so the whole phrase will be searched together and not the words individually
"foreign policy" "human rights"
"transnational security" "middle east"
"political participation" "border security"
"voting rights" "nuclear weapons"






Place an * at the end of the word to retrieve all the variations
environment* = environment or environments or environmental intervention* = intervention or interventions
risk* = risk or risks immigra* = immigrant or immigrants or  immigration
threat* = threat or threats terroris* = terrorist or terrorists or terrorism







use - or - to connect synonyms or like concepts
any of the words can be present

Graphic showing the boolean connector OR using a venn diagram

"middle east" or "arab state" or yemen or egypt
globalization or multinational
"social media" or twitter or facebook 
policy or policies

use - and - to connect concepts
all terms must be included

Graphic showing the boolean connector AND using a venn diagram

("world hunger" or "global hunger") and gmo*
("counter terrorism" or counterterrorism) and ("social media" or twitter or facebook)
"foreign policy" and china
immigra* and (policy or policies or legislation)

additional concepts
law and legislation
policy or policies
government policy
specific countries






In addition, you can search by a known author.


Many databases also allow for proximity searching.

Information for the Ebscohost databases:

You can use a proximity search to search for two or more words that occur within a specified number of words (or fewer) of each other in the databases. Proximity searching is used with a Keyword or Boolean search.

The proximity operators are composed of a letter (N or W) and a number (to specify the number of words). The proximity operator is placed between the words that are to be searched, as follows:

Near Operator (N) - N5 finds the words if they are within five words of one another regardless of the order in which they appear.

For example, type tax N5 reform to find results that would match tax reform as well as reform of income tax.

Within Operator (W) - In the following example, W8 finds the words if they are within eight words of one another and in the order in which you entered them.

For example, type tax W8 reform to find results that would match tax reform but would not match reform of income tax.

In addition, multiple terms can be used on either side of the operator. See the following examples:

  • (baseball or football or basketball) N5 (teams or players)
  • oil W3 (disaster OR clean-up OR contamination)


Information for the Proquest Databases:
NEAR/n or N/n