Skip to Main Content

Political Science: Finding Books

This guide provides research strategies for political science students at the University of Northern Colorado.

UNC's Catalog--Local

You may search for books, videotapes and DVDs, music recordings, and other materials from the Libraries' collections by keyword in the UNC Libraries' catalog, the Source.


If the book you need is checked out, or otherwise not available here at UNC, try Prospector, the statewide library catalog. Books can be requested and sent via courier for your pickup at the Access Services (Circulation) desk.


When you cannot locate items at UNC Libraries or within Prospector, your next option is WorldCat, a catalog of books and other materials from libraries worldwide.  Use our interlibrary loan service.

Using Subject Headings

Scholars share a common language. Subject headings (or descriptors) make up the controlled vocabulary used in library catalogs and databases. Ask a librarian for help with finding Library of Congress subject headings that fit your topic.

You don't need subject headings when you have a particular book title or book author in mind.

A simple keyword search is fine for casual searching. But to conduct a precise search forbooks on your topic at Michener Library, do a subject search in our online catalog using subject headings.

Advanced Searching

Advanced Keyword search tab to combine subjects and create a precise search; change the drop-down default "Any Field" to "Subject."  For example:

More Tips

Use the asterisk truncation character to pull up related words; for example the keyword search politic* retrieves all records containing the root "politic," such as the words "politics," "political," and "politician."

If you already have one book that is perfect for your topic, look up the subject headings for that book in the library catalog, and follow the links to others on the same topic. 

Combine a subject search with chronological subdivisions for more precise results; for example,

the search "Cambodia -- politics and government -- 1975-1979"
yields books about Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime;

whereas the search "Cambodia -- politics and government -- 1979-"
yields books about Cambodia post-Khmer Rouge to the date of publication.

Examples of Subjects

Here are some examples of subject headings to use for political science topics:

  • Abortion -- Government policy -- United States
  • Class consciousness -- Political aspects – United States
  • Conservatism -- United States
  • Journalism -- Political aspects
  • Political questions and judicial power -- United States
  • Political science – Philosophy
  • Political socialization -- United States
  • Religion and politics -- United States
  • Rwanda -- Politics and government -- 1962-1994
  • Self-determination, National
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 21st century