Course resource help for International Relations and Politics

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Need help? Contact your librarian

Please get in touch if you have any queries about:

  • finding information and resources for assignments
  • finding online resources
  • referencing your sources

Joanna Cooksey

I'm hybrid working this semester, so will sometimes be on Headington campus and sometimes working from home. Please email in the first instance. If you need a 1-to-1 appointment we can then arrange one either face-to-face or via Zoom or Google Meet. My usual working hours are 8.00 - 16.00, Monday - Friday.


Citing your sources (also called referencing) is an essential part of your academic work and is explained fully on our page Reference and avoid plagiarism.

Check Cite Them Right 

Use Cite Them Right to check how to reference a wide range of sources (books, journal articles, web sites) in exactly the same Harvard style used at Brookes.

Cite Them Right has a Sample text and reference list using the Harvard style. This will help you understand what referencing looks like in written work.

The Library also has a printed guide to Brookes Harvard based on Cite Them Right that you can download (Word and PDF versions available).

Further help with Harvard referencing

Referencing International Relations & Politics sources (Google slides) - These slides provide a refresher on what was covered in the Library training session for module POLI4003 Critical Skills in Politics and International Relations (Semester 1, 2022).

Don't forget you can contact your Librarian for help with referencing. 
The Centre for Academic Development can also provide advice.

Referencing tools

It's a good idea to keep track of your sources as you find them, so that it's easier to reference them later. Check this guide How to save and cite sources in LibrarySearch (Google slides)

Endnote is a tool for storing and organising your references, and it will also work with Word or Pages to create a fully formatted bibliography from your reference library.

NB Other referencing guides and apps are widely available but be aware that not all Harvard styles are the same as ours. Make sure you check your references against Cite Them Right.

How to use the Library for International Relations and Politics

Use the Library as a new student

Use LibrarySearch to find books and articles

LibrarySearch is our main search system. You can connect to it through the link below or use the search box on the Library home page. 

Find resources for your assignments

Check the Google slides (right) for advice on where to search for sources for different assignments. It covers:

  • Module reading lists - where to find them, how to understand them
  • LibrarySearch - exploring beyond your reading lists
  • Library databases - recommended for finding additional resources that aren't on LibrarySearch
  • Google & Google Scholar - how to use them effectively

Dissertations and Independent Studies

How to search databases

Databases are specialist search engines that can help you find high quality sources like journal articles. Use them when you are researching a topic to find academic sources. Some databases cover specific subjects, others are much broader in scope.

In this section you'll find links to some key databases plus video guides. Further databases are listed in the Resources section above.

Think about your keywords

If you're looking for resources on a topic, think about the keywords you could use on LibrarySearch and databases:

laptop surrounded by papers and pens

Academic Search Complete - key database for IR and Politics

Academic Search Complete is a large multidisciplinary database with good coverage of politics & international relations journals.

Other EBSCO databases

Academic Search Complete is available on a web platform called EBSCO. The Library subscribes to several key databases through this same platform that may be useful for Politics and IR research. The search screen is the same for all EBSCO databases and the video guide (above) shows you how to search them individually or in combination.


HeinOnline offers full text resources on international relations and international law, including journal articles, government documents and much more.

IBSS (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences)

IBSS (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences) is a major Social Science database on the ProQuest platform

Web of Science

Despite its name, Web of Science is a multidisciplinary database. It's particularly useful for tracking citations when you're doing a dissertation.

Other places to search

woman's hands typing on laptop


Multidisciplinary database providing an archive of older full-text articles from a wide range of academic journals, plus a range of eBooks.

Access JSTOR

Publisher collections

Note we don't subscribe to every title in these collections:

Google Scholar

Freely available search engine that focuses on scholarly sources. Check the guide Searching Scholar to find out how to ensure Google Scholar recognises resources available via Brookes.

Access Google Scholar

Beyond traditional databases: exploring resources from the Global South

If you are researching topics relating to the Global South, here are some suggested resources. They are all Open Access and will allow you to track down publications not covered by traditional databases.
Find out more from this Brookes Library News blog post Why going global might mean going beyond LibrarySearch

Government publications

shelves of colourful documents

Government publications are primary sources of information for many subject areas. This guide will help you trace UK Government publications both in the Library and on the Web. You may find this A-Z glossary of key parliamentary terms helpful for understanding the role of specific kinds of publications.

Although this guide focuses primarily on UK Government publications, it also includes some guidance on tracing EU, US and international sources.

This list includes links to relevant sections of Cite Them Right Online which gives guidance on how to reference specific types of sources.