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Politics & International Relations Subject Guide: LibGuide - online library support

Subject Guide - help and guidance on finding resources in your subject area

Welcome to the Politics & International Relations LibGuide

Use this guide to help you make the most of the library and information resources and services.  

New to the University?  Explore the Library Induction to learn all about the Library basics. 

MPA: Online Tutorial

Your Librarian - Exeter

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Nicola Howorth

Finding Resources using Library Search

The Library Search services will help you discover books, journals, articles, audio visual material and more on your chosen topic. This is a good place to start when you are beginning to research a topic as you can draw on content from a variety of different sources.

Library Search

Search for print and online books, journals, articles + moreLibrary Search LibGuide available for guidance.

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Penryn Library Search

Search the print and streaming media collections that you have access to at Penryn campus.

Expand your searching

There are a wide range of online resources that will help you trace books, journal articles and much more, to support your  study and research.  Key resources are highlighted in the adjacent tabs.

Key databases for Politics & IR Research

Finding Books & Journal Articles

  • Research databases index the global literature and provide references to journal articles, books, conference proceedings,  reports etc that match your search criteria.
  • They help you to find information about previous publications in your research field.  
  • Key research databases for Politics & IR research include:

Use the IBSS LibGuide for guidance and search tips

The Web of Science LibGuide for comprehensive support and training

JSTOR provides access to scholarly book, journal and primary sources via an easy to use search interface.

Use the How to Search JSTOR LibGuide for a general introduction to the service.

The Political Science Resources on JSTOR guide will introduce you to the content available in this area. The content covers all the major subfields of political science: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory & philosophy, political behavior, public policy and law.  The political science content includes journals published around the world, including concentrations in Middle East studies, India, and Asia.

JSTOR also has a Vimeo channel for educational and instructional videos. The following video shows you how to use ebooks on the JSTOR service.

Proquest Libguide for DNSA is available. Note that the guide covers all the collections on DNSA, and your full text access is to the subset of collections flagged above. 

Further information about the National Security Archive is available via their website.  Numerous freely available documents are available for browsing and searching, as well as a wealth or other information. The NSA is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at the George Washington University in the US. The NSA collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through Freedom of Information Act FOIA procedures.

Statista is a database that offers access to global statistics, data, graphs and infographics. Statista provides in-depth economic data on 120 countries; as well as political data and information on global companies and market trends. All data is available to download and Statista allows you to edit how your data is presented.


Use the Databases A-Z List to access all the resources available to you.

You can browse by subject , e.g. Politics or type (e.g.maps, news, images etc.) or search to find your required resource.

Allied subjects include Middle Eastern Studies,  Security Studies and Business. You will also find LibGuides available for these and other subject disciplines.

More guidance on news and official publications sources is available via  this guide and these can be valuable research resources in the field of Politics and International Relations.


You can use the following services to explore research materials available elksewhere

  • COPAC - exposes rare and unique research material by bringing together the catalogues of c.90 major UK and Irish libraries.

  • WorldCAT - search the collections of libraries in your community and tens of thousands more around the world.  

  • SUNCAT - is the Serials Union Catalogue for the UK research community, a free tool to help researchers and librarians locate serials held in the UK.

  • The European Library - access to the collections of the 48 National Libraries of Europe and leading European Research Libraries.

  • The Library of Congress -  catalog records for books, serials, manuscripts, maps, music, recordings, images, and electronic resources in the Library of Congress collections in the USA.

  • LibWeb - Access to a listing of online library catalogues worldwide

  • CORE - gives an incredibly fast search of the full-text of 80M open access research resources

  • TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).

  • You can explore TED Talks related to the topic of Politics, as well as articles on Politics

  • The Global Power Shift playlist playlist is a good starting point for understanding the sort of talks you'll find on TED.

  • You'll find talks on all sorts of other topics too. The latest and most popular talks are available from the TED homepage.

  • TED talks can be a great way to keep up to date with live issues in your area of research/study

Below is a popular talk from Hans Rosling, exemplifying the benefits of data visualisation.

I am looking for ...

You are likely to use a wide range of different types of information sources for your study and research. 

As well as academic sources such as books and journals,  you may wish to consult news sources, official publications, statistics etc. 

Use the online support highlighted here to guide your searching.  

Access 36 of the leading Politics textbooks via the Politics Trove database.

Covering subjects such as the European Union; International Relations; Political Philosophy and Political Theory, Politics Trove is a great resource to consult if your looking for introductions or overviews of some of the big ideas in politics. 

A good place to start when beginning your research for an assessment. Access Politics Trove via the link below.

  • News sources can be invaluable research resources. 
  • They provide contemporaneous accounts of events as they emerge and unfold, affording a snapshot of developments at a point in time.
  • You can engage in historical research by tracing commentary on issues over time, to identify and track changing political, economic and social trends. 
  • The availability of news resources online allows for very effective and comprehensive searching, in a way that was impossible with print or microfilm / microfiche editions of the newspapers 

Find out more on the News LibGuide 

  • Official publications are documents and other resources produced by Parliament and Government during the course of parliamentary and government business.
  • Content ranges from statements of law and policy to government reports and statistics.  
  • These publications can be a very valuable primary research source as they address all aspects of governmental work such as science, education, law, agriculture, transport, health etc.

Find out more in the Official Publications LibGuide.

The University has access to an extensive range of online primary source materials. These contain digitised copies of documents, letters, books, photographs and other primary sources. 

The Primary Sources Libguide will help you identify the best databases for your research. 

  • Statistics is the science of collecting, analysing and presenting numerical data.

  • Statistical data can be found on a huge variety of subjects, for example the economy, employment, the environment, government, health, international trade, manufacturing, and population.

  • They can be a vital source of information for your studies.

Find out more on the Statistics LibGuide.

Effective Searching & Referencing

It is important to plan your search strategy, and manage your search results so that you get the most from your online searching.

Keep a record of all the material you need to cite in your assignments, papers, projects etc. 

Use the Search Techniques and Referencing guidance to assist you.

  • It is  easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information available to you.  
  • Invest time in planning an effective online search strategy so that you can quickly and easily discover relevant and high quality information. 


As you search you need to keep track of all the material you will be using in your academic work so that you can cite and reference it appropriately.

Top Tip

Always check your module handbook for specific departmental guidance on the style required for your assessed works and dissertations.  Check with your personal tutor or dissertation supervisor if you need clarification.

For more guidance take a look at:

Find out more about the skills support available to help you develop a range of academic skills including essay writing, referencing, critical reading and getting the most out of lectures.

Academic Skills Support

Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a great resource to use when you are planning and conducting your research. 

It is targeted at social science researchers but is useful across all subject areas as it covers key research methodology topics that are applicable across the research spectrum.

Sage have produced a comprehensive LibGuide to help you get the best from the resource.

Using Journals and Journals Articles

Journals are key sources to use when carrying out research as they provide information on the latest research and cutting-edge knowledge in a subject.

This LibGuide will give you tips on finding and accessing articles using Library Search and the subject-specific databases.

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