NOTE: This guide is under development so some areas lack information and others are incomplete. The General, Polls, Africa, and Asia sections are mostly completed.
The University Library provides access to approximately 200 databases of information valuable for conducting research. They give access to a lot of valuable information, but do have some limitations.
- The majority of articles are written by white males. The Library offers some databases that specifically try to bring in other vantage points such as Black Studies Center, Diversity Collection (Alt-Press Watch, Ethnic NewsWatch, GenderWatch), Hispanic American Periodicals Index, LGBTQ+ Source, & Women's Studies International.
- The majority of people in the U.S. publishing industry are white, so the research they choose to publish is more likely to reflect their perspectives.
- For databases that are international in scope, a large majority of articles are from researchers in North America and Europe.
This research guide is intended to address this third issue. For example, what are researchers in Brazil, Kenya, or Thailand writing about democracy. Do they offer different perspectives on whether western style democracy is a good thing, should be adapted to local conditions, or not appropriate to local conditions?
The resources accessible through this guide are all open access. Some of the sources are in English, many are in the native language. This varies by region of the world. For example, there are more English language sources available in Europe than from countries on other continents. If you don't read the native language, it may take a bit more digging to find relevant English language sources on your topic, but the extra work might very well be worth the effort.
The information is divided into four categories:
- Open Access Journals - Journal articles that are freely available to anyone in the world and not kept behind paywalls.
- Institutional Repositories (IRs) - Collections of the research output of an institution, usually containing research by both faculty and students. The SCU version is Scholar Commons.
- Think Tanks / Research Centers - These organizations often focus on specific areas of expertise instead of expertise across all the academic disciplines. In addition to research, these institutions often advocate for particular points of view so are more prone to bias. In the U.S. context they are often identified as conservative, moderate, or liberal politically.
- Data Repositories - Researchers can download data from these repositories for additional analysis. Some IRs provide access to the data associated with particular studies.