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GESM 130: Spy Novel Diplomacy

This is an online research guide for students enrolled in Dr. Patrick James' course.

General Search Strategies

Before using the databases [library jargon meaning scholarly search engines] in this guide, keep in mind the following issues when searching:

  1. When you enter a database, click on the link for advanced searching. This will provide multiple search boxes where you can enter more than one term in order to get the most relevant search results. NOTE: Columbia International Affairs Online does not have an advanced search option so put the word "and" between each term in the search box.
  2. If you have difficulty finding relevant research, review a record that's close to the topic you want to investigate and read the abstract of the article for key words you can use to broaden or narrow your search parameters.
  3. If there is no direct link to the full-text of an article you find, click on the Find it @ USC icon and, if the Libraries subscribe to the journal, clicking on this should take you directly to the article or a page where you can find the full-text.
  4. If you find an article that is particularly relevant to your topic, an excellent way to build your literature review is to cut and paste that article into Google Scholar and when the article appears, look for a "cited by" link followed by a number. This is telling you that subsequent to the publication of that article, at least X number of scholars have cited that article. This is a useful strategy for locating more recent, relevant research on your topic.

Multidisciplinary Databases

These databases allow you to search for scholarly research resources representing a variety of disciplinary perspectives.


  • ProQuest Multiple -- database that simultaneously searches thousands of general and scholarly titles, and provides full-text for a significant number of the articles. Contents are updated daily. An excellent place to begin your search for information.
  • Google Scholar -- academic side of Google's search engine. It is also useful resource for identifying who has subsequently cited a particular work. Go here for directions about how to set up Google Scholar to link to materials we own or subscribe to electronically.
  • JSTOR -- an archive of scholarly, full-text social science, humanities, and science journals. An excellent source for finding historical research studies about your topic or identify how scholars studied a past topic  or event at the time it occurred.
Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Key International Relations Databases

Below are links to the most important databases that support the study of international relations and its sub-disciplines.

  • 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.
  • Public Affairs Information Services [PAIS] -- indexes selective subjects and bibliographic access to periodicals, books, hearings, reports, gray literature, government publications, Internet resources, and other publications from 120 countries. Includes historical coverage from 1915 to the present.
  • 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.

Also consider using these databases:

  • America: History and Life -- database that covers the history of the United States and Canada. It includes key English-language historic journals, selected historic journals from major countries, state and local history journals, and selected relevant journals in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Historical Abstracts -- this database includes key history journals from major countries, as well as relevant selected journals from the social sciences and humanities. Covers world history outside of the United States and Canada. All abstracts are in English.
  • MLA Bibliography -- a comprehensive index to academic publications in literature, language, and folklore studies from over 4000 journals published worldwide. Use this database to search for criticism and analysis of novels and other literature as well as authors. The MLA contains citations from 1926 to the present.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.