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Political Science & Public Administration

Information and research help for the discipline of political science and public administration.

Getting Started

This section of the guide is to help researchers locate resources using Columbus State University Libraries resources. This page will show you how to Search GALILEO by Database, find journal articles and narrowing down your search results list, and how to search through journals if the name of the journal is known. 

What Are Scholarly Journal Articles?

Experts in a particular field of study write scholarly journal articles. Their purpose is to keep others interested in the field up to date with the most recent research and findings. More so than books, scholarly journal articles are where to turn if you wish to discover recent thinking for a specific discipline.

Journal articles are published in journals, essentially magazines, but for an academic audience. A journal will be published multiple times annually and organized by volumes (and sometimes issues).*

What are peer-reviewed articles?

Peer-reviewed articles, also known as refereed articles, are scholarly journal articles that have been reviewed and edited by experts in that field before being accepted for publishing. Usually, the author is unknown to the reviewer, so the article is accepted solely on its merit and not on the author's reputation. Thus it is more likely to be a highly rigorous and credible article.* 

*Text From Finding Journal Articles Libguide From Curtain University

Why Are Scholarly Journals Important?

Scholarly articles are excellent sources of information for your assignments because they provide:

  • Authoritative information was written by experts in the field
  • Verifiable and reliable evidence for claims in the form of a bibliography or reference list
  • Current information. As they are often the place where research in a field is first published, the information in journal articles is usually more up-to-date than the information in books
  • Specialized information that focuses on a specific aspect of a topic.

Identifying Journal Articles

Most scholarly journal articles have the following features:

  • Names of authors and their affiliations. This information will enable you to confirm that the authors are experts in the field. 
  • Abstract. The abstract is a summary of the article written by the authors. The abstract will help you to determine if the article is relevant to your topic.
  • Keywords (not always in the article). These keywords are assigned to the article by the authors. It can be useful to consider adding these keywords as alternative search terms.  
  • Reference list. When you find a recent relevant article, it can be helpful to follow up on the references to find further information.

Screenshot of a journal article that highlights the components of how to identify a journal article. The Author, Affiliation, and Abstract are highlighted.

Screenshot on the elements of identifying a journal article. The acknowledgements show the article is peer-reviewed and there is a link that leads to the addition work and credentials of the author.

Finding Journal Articles

How to Find Journal Articles

One way to locate journal articles is by database if it is known, as shown in the above example. If the database is not known, you can filter out all of the search results from the GALILEO Discovery Bar to show results that are only journal articles. 

  • Type your keywords into the GALILEO Discovery bar.

Screenshot of the GALILEO homepage showing the user where to type the keywords.

Refining Search Results

  • When you arrive at your search results lists, there are several ways to look at only the journal articles. We can also use the limiters on the left-hand side of the search results
  • In the example below, the keywords used were 'political science.' This is a very broad keyword search, so there will be a lot of results that are populated. Well over 5 million. Even with a broad search like this, the number of results can be considerably reduced using the limiters. 

Screenshot of search results list for political science. It is highlighting there are 5-million search results.

Refine by Full-Text and Date Range

  • On the left, where it is labeled 'Refine Results,' are options to include or exclude items to which you set specific criteria. Clicking on 'Full-Text' and setting a date range can help immensely reduce the number of search results, as shown below. The date range in this example is between 2011-2020. Set it to whatever date range you need for your research project. 

Screenshot of GALILEO search results. Image is showing user how to limit the search results by full-text and sets a ten year date range.


Limit By Type

  • Then scroll down a bit more and find the 'Limit By Type' drop-down menu. Because we are looking for journal articles, we will click on 'Academic Journals.' This will remove all results that are not journal articles. 

Screenshot of GALILEO search limiters. Image is showing user to click on Full-text, a ten year date range, and academic journals.

Limit By Geography and Language

  • Additional limiters that can be useful to remove irrelevant search results are 'Geography' and 'Language.' Select the options that would be best for your research project. In this example, we are using English and the United States. 

Screenshot of GALILEO limiters for Geography and Language.

Refining By Subject

  • One last area we can refine the search results list is by subject to find the most relevant results. Using the term 'political science' is very broad, so this topic would need to be narrowed down to something more specific. Refining by Subject will filter out all other subject areas. It is important to remember that sometimes a topic is not filed under the most obvious or intuitive subjects, so it is good to look at similar subject areas when refining by subject. 
  • Below illustrates how to limit search results by Subject. Click on more for additional subject areas. 

A screenshot of limiting a GALILEO search result by subject.

Changing Limiters

  • To remove or add limiters:
    • Scroll to the top left of the page
    • Click on the 'X' to delete selections
    • Add the new limiter options
  • Below highlights where and how to remove limiter selections. 

Screenshot of how to remove limiter options.

Search Results Lists After Refining

After all the areas are refined, we can take a look at our search results. Initially, we had over 5-million. After using the limiter tools, we refined the list down to approximately 34,000. There are still many results, but remember, the example was a very broad subject. A more focused topic would refine the results much further. 


Screenshot of Limiting search results in GALILEO. Image shows 5-million search results.

After Refining

Screenshot of GALILEO search results list. Image is highlighting 34,000 search results.