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POLS 281: Comparative Politics

A guide for getting started on comparative politics research

On this page, you'll find some basic information on how to find books, articles, relevant websites, and other material on the internal politics (parties, elections), political news, and society and culture for countries other than the United States (see our Political Science Research Guide for more US-centric political materials and broader resources for political theory), alongside some general research guidance. For information about how to find official government sites and documents online and for guidance with regard to international law resources, see the links to their pages on the Political Science guide (listed below). You will find useful information about politically relevant economic issues and institutions using the International Business page from the Business Research Guide, also listed below.

National Political Parties and Elections

There are four fairly reliable ways to find information about a given country's political parties and election practices (assuming the government in question actually holds elections).

  • Find the country in the CIA World Factbook. There will be a drop-down section on the page for Government, which will include a listing of Political Parties or Leaders. You can use the names you find to search for more information online.
  • Find the official government website for that country (the International Politics and Governments page on the Political Science Research Guide has instructions). If you click around the site, you'll discover that some countries do include links out to the official sites of their political parties, and many also have fairly detailed information about their election processes and practices.
  • Search news databases and news publications for that country and look for political news and election news (see the Political and Cultural News Sources box on this page for source suggestions).
  • Use a reference database or text to look up the country and/or its parties (a good way to use some of the information you might have learned from the CIA World Factbook).

Research Tips and Tricks

If you'd like some help getting started with database research, take a look at the tutorial videos listed below (note: you will need to be logged in to your USI account to view them).


Political and Cultural News Sources

This is just a selection of news sites and organizations that might provide useful information on politics and social and cultural events. Some -- like the BBC -- provide local, world, and regional coverage for several countries. Most of the links provided here go specifically to English-language editions of the publications listed.

General Research Links and Citation Help

Research Links

Citation Help

Research and Instruction Librarian

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Laura Bernhardt
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