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International Relations *

A guide to databases and scholarly online sources that support conducting research in international relations and comparative politics.

Research Databases

Country Studies Research Databases

  • The Commonwealth iLibrary – contains open access to The Commonwealth publications, a political association of fifty-six independent countries that includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries, spanning five regions. Thirty-two of its members are small states, many of them island nations.  The Commonwealth publishes around thirty new titles per year on a range of topics that concern small nation states, including globalization and multilateral trade issues, export and enterprise development, education, gender, public service management and reform, and law and human rights. Titles are organized by series, year, and alphabetically, and search and discovery of complete publications or articles and chapters.
  • Economist Intelligence Unit [EIU] -- a source of business intelligence on political and economic trends in 180 countries. An overall profile of each country is provided annually and a current report is produced quarterly. Both include current detailed statistics. Excellent resources for obtaining forecasts for future economic and political developments.
  • Economist Intelligence Unit [EIU] Country Reports Archive -- presents the historical reports from 1952 to 1995, with all data from the statistical tables fully captured and downloadable in spreadsheet form, providing an archive of analysis and explanation of political, economic and commercial developments, together with historical statistical data covering almost 200 countries. Each report presents detailed statistics alongside expert commentary and forecasting from the EIU’s analysts.
  • Europa World – a meticulously researched resource of political, economic, and statistical information for more than 250 countries and territories, as well as international and regional organizations. Contents include authoritative information on every country, providing context for the world’s major political and economic developments; up-to-date government lists and recent election results for every country in the world; the ability to directly compare national statistics in graph and tabular form; coverage of 2,000 international organizations, commissions, and specialized bodies’ topical essays and commodity overviews for major regions of the world; current and comprehensive statistical and directory data for all countries and territories; impartial coverage of issues of national and regional importance from acknowledged experts; and, a directory of major political figures with biographical information and facts. An excellent source of current information about specific countries and regions of the world.
  • HeinOnline World Constitutions Illustrated -- this database includes the current constitution for every country in its original language format and an English translation, as well as substantial constitutional histories for most countries. It also includes periodicals, full-text books, bibliographic references and links to scholarly articles and online resources. Access by clicking on link in left-hand column.
  • Merchant Online -- a database of financial information for companies and industries, but includes a Country Profile box in the lower right corner of the page for comprehensive data and maps. Start with reports available in the "Enhanced country profile" menu. Also, Mergent Archives provides access to more than 180,000 documents covering over 100 countries.
  • Statista -- comprehensive source of worldwide data and statistics that includes country and regional reports containing key economic indicators like GDP, national finance, demographics, and trade figures.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Country Information

Directories and Scholarly Web Sites

  • Africa South of the Sahara -- a searchable, comprehensive directory of web resources about countries south of the Sahara. Contents are arranged by country and topic as well.
  • Ambassadorial Appointments Tracker -- created by the American Foreign Service Association, this database monitors appointments of ambassadors and senior positions with links to their biographies if available. Data on appointments can be found back to the Gerald Ford administration.
  • BBC News Country Profiles -- supplies information on the history, economy, and politics of countries and territories as well as maps, facts, and current leaders. Each profile includes links to news items on that country that have appeared on the BBC network.
  • CIA World Factbook -- provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities. Updated every two weeks and, therefore, is a good source for current information.
  • Countries and Their Cultures, World Cultures Encyclopedia -- provides succinct essays about the cultures and sub-cultures of individual countries and regions of the world. Helpful in understanding the internal cultural dynamics of a country. Essays include a bibliography of sources.
  • Country Studies/Area Handbook Series -- presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of over 91 countries throughout the world. The series examines the inter-relationships of those systems and the ways they are shaped by cultural factors.
  • EurasiaNet -- provides information and analysis about political, economic, environmental and social developments in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as in Russia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. The web site also offers additional features, including newsmaker interviews and book reviews.
  • Global Edge Country Profiles -- source for statistical data for nearly every country around the world. In addition to statistics, the database includes summary information on historical, economic, and political conditions and risk assessment.
  • Human Development Reports -- site contains country-level data available for review and download from the United Nation's  annual Human Development Report.
  • List of Foreign Governments -- a directory of developed and maintained by librarians at Northwestern University, this resource provides links to the web sites of official portals or homepages of national  legislative and executive branch institutions organized alphabetically and loosely following the structure of The CIA World Factbook. Territories and colonies of other countries are listed separately if the home rule government has a website..
  • NationMaster -- a directory of country-specific economic and demographic statistical indicators across 300 industry categories. The directory is composed of data obtained from trustworthy sources such as national statistic agencies, governments, international organizations (UNDP, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, UNCTAD, WTO, World Bank, World Health Organization, OECD and many others). NOTE: This is a commercial site that includes advertising and pop-up ads.
  • World Economic Forum Global Risk Reports -- a comprehensive series of reports which examine in detail the broad range of global issues related to economic imbalances and social inequality risk.
  • Worldwide Governments on the WWW -- one of the most extensive lists of international, national, regional, and local governmental and government-related Web servers. It covers governmental institutions on the Web, including parliaments, ministries, offices, law courts, embassies, city councils, public broadcasting corporations, central banks, multinational organizations, and political parties. Arranged in a hierarchical index organized by continent, country, and smaller divisions with thematic groupings such as heads of states, parliaments, political parties, elections, and currency.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.