Library & On-Line Resources
Once you have narrowed your topic, you should read the excellent “Ladd Lamplighter” guide, Economics: A Guide to Reference Sources.
This guide, prepared by Laura Juraska (Social Science Reference Librarian) and Sandy Groleau (Government Documents Librarian), is available at the Library. Depending on your topic, you may also wish to consult some of the other library guides, and the handouts for other subjects such as Political Science, etc.
For your literature review you should read widely. One approach is to find the most recent publication on your topic and then look up its references to earlier books and journal articles. A more systematic approach is consulting the various indexes on the economics literature. Many indexes are now available on the Library’s web site.
EconLit is an important source for economics articles. It lists everything published, and in addition, gives abstracts for important articles and books. The bulk of the references are to professional publications by economists. (EconLit is also available in print form in the quarterly Journal of Economic Literature. It includes a few articles in each issue that survey various fields within economics.)
PAIS International is a selective list of the latest books, periodical articles, government documents, pamphlets, microfiche, and reports of public and private agencies relating to business, economic and social conditions, public policy and administration, and international relations.
The GPO Index lists government documents that cannot be found in the card catalog or standard indexes. It lists government publications published from 1976 to the present. See the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications for publications prior to 1976.
Lexis-Nexis is an on-line full-text resource with extensive coverage of national and international news, as well as company information (newsletters, business journals, etc.) Available on networked PC’s throughout the campus. Laura Juraska’s one-hour lab on Lexis-Nexis is a must before you try to use this service.
In addition, you may be able to identify a few journals that are especially relevant to your topic. Browsing through recent issues may be an efficient way to locate useful articles.
Interlibrary loan enables you to obtain books and articles not in the Bates collection. An interlibrary loan takes time; do not leave your requests until the last minute and then expect to read the item in the next day. Books obtained on interlibrary loan are free and photocopies are 10 cents per page.
In your research you should avoid relying on sources like encyclopedias, popular magazines (like Newsweek or Time) and most newspaper articles, except when these sources contain original material or facts not available from other sources.
The Internet, and especially the World Wide Web, are rapidly expanding sources for researchers. Bill Goffe’s Resources on the Internet for Economists is a good place to start looking. It has many links to other sites.