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Political Analysis for Public Policy

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Subject Guide

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Ryan Denniston

Perkins 233
PO Box 90175
Durham, NC 27708

Article Databases

US Law and Politics


International Coverage, Including US


Research Log

From the Start: record and refine your search strategies by keeping a research log (ex. below); saving your search histories in databases; and/or taking screen shots of your searches.


Remember to cite sources as you go.


Strategies for your memos

Finding & Evaluating Sources


Start with an overview of your issue by searching for news and scholarly analysis with the databases listed throughout this guide. To explore other databases:

Click on the Databases tab from the Libraries homepage. Enter database name or use the Browse by Subject function.  Tips:  

  • Click on “more details” to learn more about the database
  • You will be led to the catalog entry for a database. Do not use the search box on that page; click  to get to the specific database's interface.
  • When you find citations in the database, use the get it @ Duke button to find electronic full-text

Understand how the US government works--see the US Govt. tab for some refresher sources, esp. the Legislative Process guide

Google smart:

Add to restrict your Google search to US government sites.


Use Google Search Tips: Notice how similar the advanced strategies are to those used in databases!

Use the Think Tanks search engine on the interest groups page of this guide.



 For books and more:

Use the Duke Libraries catalog to search for print and reference sources


  • Click Advanced Search to search by format, library, etc.
  • e-books are activated faster in the e-books list than in the catalog--click the link under the catalog search box.


Dig deeper see my Public Policy subject guide  (linked from my profile here), and the Related Guides tab in it.