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Elections & Voting: Find Sources

Find Sources on Elections & Voting

Databases on Elections & Voting:


Multidisciplinary Databases:

Statistics and data can provide valuable information for research and analysis, but it is important to consider how the data was collected and how it is presented. Tips on evaluating statistics can be found on the Evaluate Sources page, linked above.

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Suggested Resources:

Research Skills & Tips: 

Campaign finance refers to the governing rules, methods and contributions to political election campaigns from private donors and groups. In the US, campaign funds are largely acquired through private fundraising by the candidates and their parties. The following sources aim to help you to get started with your research in campaign finance.

Background Information:

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Suggested Resources:

The phrase "election interference" can refer to different topics, including misinformation that is spread through social media and accusations of vote tampering or fraud. The resources below will help you explore the topic. After exploring, consider narrowing your search to be more specific. 

Background Information:

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Suggested Resources:

Federal, state, and even local laws determine who is eligible to vote and how voting is conducted (for example, hours and locations of polling places, voting by mail, etc.). 

Background Information:

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Suggested Resources:

Search Strategies

The MC Library has access to different kinds of search tools: 

  • RaptorSearch: Searches across most of the information that you can access through the MC Library. Find books, e-books, streaming audio and video, and DVDs and CDs as well as articles and other electronic resources from databases available through the library.
  • Databases: Collections of articles, videos, images, or other types of sources. Some databases cover a wide range of subject areas or source types (multidisciplinary), while other databases are discipline or format based (e.g., PsycINFO or AP Images).

Use the tabs in the box below to find suggested databases or other search tools to use for a variety of types of sources. 

MC students, faculty, and staff  can access all of our search tools and online resources from on or off-campus.

Research Skills & Tips:

Unlike Google, library databases can't understand an entire sentence. You'll need to break your topic down into the most important ideas: the keywords.

Keywords are individual words or short phrases that represent the main ideas in your topic, thesis, or research question. 

Example Question: Is there a need for stricter guidelines in campaign financing? 

Keywords: guidelines, campaign financing

After you've identified your main ideas and some keywords to start with, think of additional search terms for each concept. These can be synonyms, related ideas, broader terms, or narrower terms. Since a database will match only what you type, using different terms for similar ideas can help you find more articles. 

Example Search Terms: 

  • guidelines: regulation, reporting, transparency
  • campaign financing: political funding, sponsors, fundraising

Now that you have identified keywords, you will combine them in the database search box. Try more than one combination to find different sources! 

Use the search operators AND & OR to combine your search terms. â€‹Use quotation marks to search for a specific phrase, with the words in that exact order: "social media" 

Use AND between your main ideas to narrow your search (all words will be found in each source): 
  • regulation and "campaign financing"
  • government and regulate and content and "social media" 
 

Diagram shows overlap between gov't & free speech

Use OR to look for related search terms, in one search (at least one of the search words will be found in each source). This will increase the number of sources you find. Put related search terms in parentheses, and combine with other terms: 
  • regulation and campaign and (financing or fundraising)
  • government and regulate and (Internet or "social media")

Diagram shows social media & internet highlighted

Research Skills & Tips:

Filter Results:

To make your results more manageable, use the database filters to limit your search results. For example:

  • Full-text access: To ensure that all items from your search results include the entire article or publication, select "full text" from filtering/refining options on the search results page.
  • Source types: If you know you only need peer-reviewed journal articles, select peer reviewed. Or, if you want to see only magazine articles, e-books, or another type of source, you can select only what you need. 
  • Publication date: If your sources must be from within the last five years, you can set the year of publication to reflect that. 

These options may be found in different locations of a database’s results page. In RaptorSearch, filter options are found on the left.

You can also set these options before you search from the Advanced Search screen in most databases. 

Sort Results:

Most database search results will be sorted by relevance. You can change this to sort by newest first, oldest first, etc. Look for the sort options near the top of the results list. 

Step 2: Find Sources

"Find Sources." Magnifying Glass.

To find sources, start by thinking about your research questions and the type of information you need. For example, you may need to search in different places to find statistics than you would if you need to find images. 

This page provides tips for how to develop a search strategy and also links to search tools you can use to find specific types of sources. 

As you search, consider the tips on the Evaluate Sources page, and assess each article, book, website or other source that you find.