Public Affairs

This guide will help students discover relevant resources and research techniques to help with studies in the Public Affairs program.

Tips for searching

In order to get quality results in a search, you as the researcher must consider what exactly you are searching for. Consider the ways you might search the article database or online news sources. Here are some strategies to get you started in your research: 

  • Think about the most important terms that would be broad enough but also focused enough to narrow your search. 
    Example: I want to find out information about former leaders of the United Nations. Keywords= United Nations, leaders, former
  • Think about alternate terms (synonyms, related terms) that could also be used in the search if your initial search results are not adequate. 
    Example: leaders> delegates, politicians, representatives, officials
  • Whatever is the most important aspect of your search should be put into the search bar first.
    Example: I need documents related to the Detroit legislature Bill 435. Bill 435, Detroit, government
  • Narrow initial search results by selecting suggested search options. Many article databases offer more ways to refine results like choosing the date range or year for published works, the subjects or topics that are covered, or the type of document available. 
    Examples: Date range> Last 5 years, 2015-2020 Subject/Discipline>Political Science; Public Affairs Document type>Peer reviewed, scholarly
  • Find one good source and then continue your search by clicking on tagged subjects for articles and published works. Articles often contain keywords of subjects and topics present to help categorize them for easier retrieval. 
  • Learn as you go! Review articles and documents and see how they are organized, what other terms may be useful to search for instead, and if the website has limitations in its search capabilities. 

Getting Started

Welcome to the Public Affairs research guide

This research guide is meant to help guide those in the Public Affairs undergraduate program at WSU. Use these links and references to help aid you in your research about topics relevant to international and national relations. Take note and make use of the links to other research guides provided by Wayne State University departments to enhance the full scope of your research possibilities. Check out some of the additional links below sources for additional help searching and navigating. 

This site originally designed by Caitlin Hickey, WSU School of Information, for INF7160 Advanced Online Searching, in March 2021.

Library Resources

Liaison Librarian

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Jon E. Cawthorne, Ph.D.
He, Him, His
342 Purdy Kresge Library

Evaluating Sources

The Internet is a great resource for information. But due to the sheer amount of information available it is important to evaluate content presented in a source.

  • Think critically about whether the information can be verified from multiple sources.
  • Consider whether the publisher of the website has any interest in promoting certain information.
  • What expertise or background the author brings as added perspective to the content topic?