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Researching your dissertation (Politics and International Relations): Home


This site has been designed to introduce you to researching for your dissertation.  The focus is on how to identify and search for academic literature, but you may also need to locate other types of information and data at times. The guide includes links to guides that will help you locate other types of information.

Understanding Academic Sources (15 minutes):

You will need to use good quality information to support your work. The following tutorial will help you to recognise different types of academic sources and their importance for research.

To work through the tutorial, use the arrows at the bottom right of the screen to progress through the tutorial. 

Plan your search

Before you begin your research, it is worth doing a bit of planning up front. Consider your research question and any objectives you have and the different search words that relate to this. These are what we would call keywords. You can map these out in a way that helps you to carry out your searches and come up with different search strategies. Here is an example search table:

Keyword table
Political Apathy Voting UK
Apolitical Elections United Kingdom
Political disengagement Voters England
Political engagement General Election British system
Voter fatigue    

From here you can develop meaningful search strategies e.g. Political engagement and General Election / Political apathy and elections

Going beyond the library

If you need anything we do not have in the library collections at the University of Northampton. please make use of Interlibrary Loans and the SCONUL Access scheme.

How can I find relevant literature to support my work?

NELSON (Northampton Electronic Library Search ONline)

You can use NELSON to search the library’s books, e-books, e-journals, videos and more. Sign-in with your University login to access the full-text. If the item is available electronically you’ll see a link to the full-text online. If the content is available in print, you’ll see a shelfmark letting you know where to find the book on the shelf.

If you want to find subject specific resources, you can also search the specialist databases directly. You’ll find these listed under the Databases tab on NELSON and most allow you to sign-in using your University login. You can also use the links below to go directly to the databases that you'll find relevant to your course.

Useful Databases

Other helpful resources