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Comparative Politics

Assignment  **  Scholarly Books  **  Scholarly Articles  **  Other Sources


For your "Essay on Democracy in Afghanistan," you will need to use scholarly publications (a book, chapter in a book, or peer-reviewed journal article) to support your research.  You will work with a partner to make an argument about the quality of democracy in Afghanistan today, using two of these factors from your Moodle reading:

-the state of elections
-the condition of women
-social diversity
-the nature of the judiciary

The assignment requires that you use at least seven sources, four of which must be scholarly. You are also asked to consult the Freedom House report for Afghanistan (linked near the bottom of this page).

For your "NGO Essay" (due during week 10), you will need to find at least one scholarly source describing your NGO, its work in the country you have chosen, and/or the state of poverty in that country.  Please consult this webpage while working on the NGO Essay to be reminded of useful resources; you will find that PAIS, in particular, will be very good for this assignment.

Finding Scholarly Books


The Statesman's Year-Book is an excellent source for background information about Afghanistan:

Statesman's Year-Book (REF JA51 .S7 2016)

Other Books

Use the Tredway Library catalog, ALiCat, to search for books. If you're not finding what you need, use I-Share, a catalog of all the books in nearly 80 college & university libraries around Illinois.

Searching ALiCat & I-Share:
1) Go directly into the Advanced Search by clicking on the link below the search box; this will give you many more options and will make your search more effective.
2) Stack your keyword search terms to combine them with "and." Example: Afghanistan and democracy or Afghanistan and politic? (the question mark truncates your search; in other words, you'll see results for "politics," "political," etc.)
3) Run a Subject search for the country. When you find a record that seems appropriate for the type of information you're looking for, click on the title for a more detailed description. Note the links next to "Topics" and/or "Regions"; clicking on these links will lead to other titles about the same topic or region.

Finding Scholarly Articles

"Peer-reviewed," "scholarly," "refereed," "academic"...these words can be used interchangeably. They mean that a resource has been thoroughly reviewed by scholars and that the information it contains is of high quality. "Academic" sources can include books, journals, critical reviews, analyses, and original research articles.

From the library homepage, select "Databases," then "Anthropology, Political Science, etc." Read the descriptions of the resources listed to determine which might contain scholarly articles about democracy in Afghanistan. Three possibilities are listed here, but these are certainly not the only options!

▪ Academic Search Complete - be sure to select the box by "Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals"

▪ Political Science Complete - check the "Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals" box

▪ PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) International - change the drop-down boxes from "anywhere" to "abstract," choose "English" as the language, and check the "Peer-reviewed" box

**Locating and reading articles**

So, you've found an article that sounds good. How do you find a copy so you can read it?

1. If there's a full-text link in the database you're in, just click on it!
2. If you don't see a full-text link, go to the library homepage and select "Journals & Magazines," then enter the journal's title to see if the full text is available somewhere else.
3. If Augustana doesn't own the article you're looking for, click on "Interlibrary Loan" under "Research Tools" on the homepage. It's free, and you'll usually get the article within 3-5 days.

Other Sources

CQ Researcher

This source provides in-depth, non-biased journalism about current issues of the day. The reports are written by renowned journalists and offer a short history of the issue, current developments, a pro/con section, and a short bibliography.

You'll find links CQ Researcher on the "Anthropology, Political Science, etc." library resources page and on the Databases A-Z list.

Notable websites

The first two sites are very useful for background information about your country, but they will not count toward your total sources.

"Background Notes" from the U.S. Department of State
The CIA's "The World Factbook"
Freedom House report for Afghanistan *required*

Though these sites are linked here, you can also find them on the library website by first selecting "Databases," then "Anthropology, Political Science, etc.," then choosing "Useful Websites" at the top.

Need help? Ask a librarian! Visit our help page. 

Created by Anne Earel, Research & Instruction Librarian. Updated August 2016.