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Political Science *

Below are links to databases and scholarly web sites that support the study of political science and its related sub-disciplines.



Public policy encompasses aspects of human behavior applied to solving social, economic, and political problems; it represents the practice of political science applied to evidence-based decision making, policy design, and public administration. Listed below and in each sub-tab are resources to help you locate scholarly research about the study of public policy and policy-making related to a particular issue. Listed below are resources for finding studies produced by research centers and think tanks--organizations devoted to producing research intended to influence decision-makers.


The following databases can help you locate studies produced by think tanks and non-profit and privately-funded advocacy and special interest organizations and research centers as well as general research on public policy. Use the drop-down menu of sub-tabs to find resources that support researching public policy related to criminal justice, economics, education, environment, health care, housing, immigration, and welfare.

  • Columbia International Affairs Online [CIAO] -- provides the full text of a wide range of scholarship books, working papers from universities and research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, and proceedings from conferences.
  • CQ Researcher --   in-depth, unbiased coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. Reports are published weekly 44 times a year.
  • Policy Archive -- a growing archive of global, non-partisan public policy research. It makes use of technology to collect and disseminate summaries and full texts, videos, reports, briefs, and multimedia material of think tank, university, government, and foundation-funded policy research. It offers a subject index, an internal search engine, useful abstracts, and email notifications of newly added research studies.
  • Policy Commons -- platform for objective, fact-based research from the world’s leading policy experts, nonpartisan think tanks, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. The database provides advanced searching across millions of pages of books, articles, working papers, reports, policy briefs, data sets, tables, charts, media, case studies, and statistical publications, including archived reports from more than 200 defunct think tanks.
  • PolicyFile -- provides full-text access to U.S. foreign and domestic policy papers and gray literature published by a wide variety of think tanks, research institutes, and agencies. PolicyFile is updated weekly with abstracts and links to the latest reports, papers, and documents.
  • Public Administration Abstracts -- provides information on public administration-related publications worldwide covering such areas as administration and economy, administration and politics, administration and society, administrative structures and organization, public and social services, public service personnel, and theory and method.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts -- provides indexing of the international journal literature in political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration and policy. Over 1,700 titles are monitored for coverage and, of these, 67% are published outside of the United States.
  • Think Tank Search -- produced by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, this search engine searches the websites of more than 690 institutions affiliated with universities, governments, advocacy groups, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and businesses that generate public policy research, analysis, and activity.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.


Research Centers at USC

Listed below are selected research centers and organizations located at USC devoted to researching issues related to politics and public policy-making.

Leading National Research Organizations

  • American National Election Studies [ANES] -- the mission of the ANES is to inform explanations of election outcomes by providing data that support rich hypothesis testing, maximize methodological excellence, measure many variables, and promote comparisons across people, contexts, and time.
  • Brookings Institution -- brings together more than 300 leading experts in government and academia from all over the world who provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis of research topics related to foreign policy, economics, development, governance, and metropolitan policy.
  • Cato Institute -- a public policy research organization dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace that guide research on a wide range of policy issues.
  • Center for American Women and Politics [CAWP] -- established in 1971 at Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, the center is a  leading source of scholarly research and current data about American women’s political participation. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about women's participation in politics and government and to enhance women's influence and leadership in public life.
  • Center for Governmental Research [CGR] -- a nonprofit organization that assists organizations and communities to identify transformative solutions to problems in governments, schools, nonprofits, and in relation to key business and civic initiatives.
  • Center for Responsive Politics -- a research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Its mission is to produce and disseminate peerless data and analysis on money in politics to inform and engage Americans, champion transparency, and expose disproportionate or undue influence on public policy.
  • Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress -- sponsors research and provides a forum for open dialogue between the White House and Congress, representatives of differing parties, and between the government and the private sector. Drawing on the lessons of history, thew Center works with leading experts on presidential and congressional history to provide engaging case studies on political leadership, legislative compromise, and national strategy.
  • Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling -- a university-based state survey research center in the United States devoted to provide scientifically sound, non-partisan information about public opinion.
  • Eagleton Institute of Politics -- explores state and national politics through research, education, and public service, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice. The Institute focuses attention on how the American political system works, how it changes, and how it might work better.
  • Annenberg Public Policy Center -- a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.
  • MapLight  -- a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that focuses on highlighting the influence of money on politics. The organization currently tracks money and influence in the U.S. Congress and in the California legislature and Wisconsin legislature, with more states to come.
  • National Bureau of Economic Research -- a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to conducting economic research and to disseminating research findings among academics, public policy makers, and business professionals.
  • RAND Corporation -- a nonprofit institution that conducts research on issues, such as energy, education, health care, justice, the environment, international affairs, and national security.
  • Urban Institute -- a nonprofit organization that carries out economic and social policy research studies on retirement and aging in America, income taxes, state implementation of the Affordable Care Act, working families and their children, immigrant children schools, the cost-effectiveness of crime prevention, and the personal and national challenges of long-term unemployment.
  • The Wilson Center -- chartered by Congress in 1968 as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, the Center serves as a key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.

Global Go To Think Tank Index Report

The University of Pennsylvania Lauder Institute Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program conducts research on the role policy research institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world. Since 2008, the organization has developed and published an annual Global Go To Think Tank Index Report that uses an international survey of over 1,950 scholars, public and private donors, policy makers, and journalists to rank the world’s leading think tanks in all the major areas of public policy research and in every region of the world based on eighteen criteria.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.