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POLS 372: Principles and Methods of Political Science

Professor Victoria Wilson

Search Tips

To get more results, broaden your search.

  • Use an asterisk to find articles using any of the variants of the same root word.
    • democrac* = democracy, democracies, democratic, etc
  • Use fewer search terms. Look for words not unique to your topic that you could cut from your search string.
  • OR Use OR to link synonyms, so you get articles where the authors used other terms to describe the same concept. 
    • (city OR urban)
    • (participants OR respondents)
  • Use more inclusive search terms.
    • Bigger locations - too few results from los angeles, try california
    • More general terms - too few results from "freedom of assembly", try "first amendment"
  • Search as many possible sources at once by usingCSU+ or Google Scholar.

To get fewer results, narrow your search.

  • " " Use quotation marks to find exact phrases, when you need words next to each other in precise sequence to have the meaning you intend.
    • "social capital"
    • "civil war"
  • Add more concepts to your search. Consider the who, what, when, where, why, and how.
  • Use narrower, more specific concepts or aspects of your original topic.
    • political participation => protest
  • Search fewer sources, one top journal at a time.


Finding Articles & Books from References

Seed Crystal - A Metaphor

Google Scholar

  1. If you have a Google account, make sure you're logged in.
  2. At the top, click on Settings (gear icon under the black ribbon).
  3. Choose Library Links in the left column.
  4. Search for csun.
  5. Check the box next to CSUN - CSU Northridge - Full Text at CSUN.
  6. Click the blue Save button.
  7. Search for a topic or article.
  8. When you see a result you want, look to the right of the title for a Full Text at CSUN link to get the article directly through CSUN databases.

Setting this up once cuts back on the number of times you'll be routed to the publisher's website and asked to pay for an article, but it doesn't eliminate it.  Never pay for a scholarly article or book! If you find something you want via Google Scholar, paste the title of the citation into OneSearch and check for it at all CSU libraries.  Even if no CSU has it, we can probably get it for you via Interlibrary Loan.

Finding Full Text Articles in Google Scholar

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