Contemporary Canadian Government & Politics:
A Practical Research Guide

Introduction   Starting   Clarifying   Bibliographies   Finding & Evaluating
Primary Sources   Special Topics   Citing Sources   Ask Your Librarian!   Detailed Table of Contents
4. Finding and Evaluating Substantive Information
Finding Information Evaluating Information

Finding Information: Analysis & Reports in the Popular Press

Scholarly Research Current Events / News Books Other Academic Works
Government Information Political Party Information Research Organizations Videos

Scholarly research published in academic (peer-reviewed or refereed) journals should be consulted for any serious research project. See Finding Information: Scholarly Research in Academic Journals.

Articles reporting on and analyzing research, events, issues and ideas in government and politics can also be valuable and are found in other kinds of journals and magazines such as professional or trade journals, journals published by research institutes, think tanks and other organizations, newsmagazines, and other publications intended for the general public. Some examples of these kinds of journals and magazines most useful for Canadian government and politics are listed below. (See also Special Topics for others with a more specific subject focus.)

Note: Some of these contain scholarly articles, but on the whole, these publications print articles that are not always supported by documented evidence and may reflect the author's subjective opinion, the publisher's political agenda, or the government's position on an issue. Researchers must be careful to evaluate these articles critically, and to balance these sources with others. For tips on evaluating articles see Evaluating Information -- Articles.

    Canadian Dimension: For People Who Want to Change the World. Winnipeg: Dimension Publishing Inc., 1963 - . Describes itself as "an independent forum for Left-wing political thought and discussion".
    Canadian Parliamentary Review. Ottawa: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, 1978 - . Guest editorials and feature articles are written by parliamentarians, staff and others, on the functioning of government; includes federal and provincial/territorial legislative summaries. Full text online 1978 - .
    Electoral Insight. Ottawa: Elections Canada, 1999 - . Articles by scholars and others cover elections and the democratic process in Canada and elsewhere.
    Horizons. Ottawa: Policy Research Initiative, Government of Canada, 1998 - . Articles highlight the work of federal government and external policy researchers. Starting in 2007 includes some peer-reviewed articles.
    Inroads: the Canadian Journal of Opinion. Ottawa: Inroads Inc., 1992 - . An independent journal of opinion on economic, political and social issues.
    Lobby Monitor. Ottawa: ARC Publications, 1995 - . Provides information on the lobbying community in Canada. Intended to help policy advocates keep informed of events in time to lobby government.
    Optimum: The Journal of Public Sector Management. Ottawa: The Summit Group & the Centre on Governance, U. of Ottawa, 1999 - . Articles focus on national and international issues in public sector management; includes refereed articles and others.
    Policy Options. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy, 1979 - . The IRPP, a nonprofit organization, publishes bilingual articles on public policy issues including in-depth analyses and research.
    This Magazine: Because Everything is Political. Toronto: Red Maple Foundation, 1966 - . This registered charity publishes alternative to mainstream views on politics and culture.

To find articles on your topic, use article indexes or full-text databases. Indexes allow you to search for articles by topic in hundreds or thousands of journals and magazines at once. There are many multidisciplinary indexes and article databases (e.g. JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, Proquest Research Library, etc.) as well as indexes limited to the social sciences (Social Sciences Index, Social Sciences Abstracts, etc.) all of which can be useful for finding articles on goverment and politics. Federated searching (search engines that allow searching multiple databases together) and Google Scholar provide other ways to find relevant articles across many disciplines and from many different kinds of publications. Starting off with a specialized government/political science index, or one that is limited to only Canadian journals, can save a lot of searching time, allow for more efficient searching, and provide more reliable results.

TIP: To get the most out of the index or database you select, know its coverage dates, the types of publications it covers, how to limit the articles found to academic or peer-reviewed journals, how to combine keywords to narrow the search, etc. Take some time to ensure you know how to search each database and take advantage of any special features available.

The following are some of the most relevant indexes/databases for finding articles on Canadian government and politics:

ABC Pol Sci. 1970 - . Index to articles on political science and government and related disciplines from over 300 political science journals.
America: History and Life. 1964 - . Indexes with abstracts of articles from over 2,000 journals, books and dissertations on all aspects of the history of Canada and the U.S. from prehistorical times to the present.
CBCA (Canadian Business & Current Affairs). 1982 - . Index and full-text database of over 600 Canadian academic journals, magazines and news sources. (Formerly Canadian Index, Canadian News Index and Canadian Business Index.)
Canadian Periodical Index. 1920 - . Index and full-text database of over 400 Canadian journals, magazines and newspapers and some major U.S. magazines.
Canadian Research Index. Index to Canadian reports, articles and other publications from all levels of government, agencies, boards, commissions, universities and research institutes. (Formerly Microlog Index.)
C.R.I.S. (Combined Retrospective index to Journals in Political Science, 1886-1974). Index to 179 English-language journals.
International Political Science Abstracts. 1951 - . Index of the major political science journals from around the world.
JSTOR. Full-text backfiles (not current 2-5 years) of about 20 political science journals, among others, including Canadian J. of Political Science from 1935 on.
PAIS International. 1915 - . Index to international journal articles, government documents and books on public and social policy.
Political Science: A Sage Full-Text Collection. A database of 25 political science journals in full text.
Sage Public Administration Abstracts. 1974 - . Covers English-language journals on public administration.
Social Sciences Citation Index. 1956 - . Indexes articles from English-language social science journals. A different and valuable index that allows searching by citations within each article to trace how often and where articles have been cited. (Available through Web of Science.)
Worldwide Political Science Abstracts. 1975 - . Indexes about 1,500 scholarly journals in political science, international relations, law, public administration and policy.
Finding Information Evaluating Information
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Introduction   Starting   Clarifying   Bibliographies   Finding & Evaluating
Primary Sources   Special Topics   Citing Sources   Ask Your Librarian!   Detailed Table of Contents

Created and maintained by Anita Cannon, Librarian
R. P. Bell Library   Mount Allison University   Mount Allison Centre for Canadian Studies
Last Updated: January 4, 2008