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Research Guides

Public Policy Research & Analysis

This is a guide primarily for the Pomona/Pitzer Public Policy Analysis Clinic

Getting started

If you are new to conducting research:
Consider reviewing the Starting Your Research tutorial to learn the phases and processes of doing research.


  • CCL uses the Library of Congress Classification System to organize physical books in the library.
    • LC Classification – Political Science, International Affairs

      GE1-350 - Environmental Policy/Environmental Sciences - at ASL

      H 97 - General Social Sciences, Public Policy

      HB 171 - Public economics

      HC - Economics

      HE 305-311 - Urban transportation

      HG 451-1496 - Finance (by country)

      HJ 9-9940 - Public finance

      HJ 141 - Public taxation; HT51-1595 Communities. Classes. Races; HT101-395 Urban groups. The city. Urban sociology; HT165.5-169.9 City planning  ; HT170-178 Urban renewal. Urban redevelopment; HT201-221 City population - Including children in cities, immigration; HT330-334 Metropolitan areas; HT388 Regional economics. Space in economics; HT 390-395 Regional planning

      JA - Political science - JA51 - Public management

      JC - Political theory

      JJ 1000-1019 - Political institutions and public administration (globally)

      JK1-9993 Public institutions and public administration - US; JK 270-279 - United States Politics and Government

      JQ 224 - Public policy and administration

      JS - Local government

      JV 6201-6347 -Immigration

      JZ - International relations

      KF 3581-3598 - Environmental law

Start your Public Policy research with these key resources:

Literature Review v. Research Paper

What is a literature review?

A literature review can be just a simple summary of the sources, but it usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis. A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information.

How is a literature review different from an academic research paper?

The main focus of an academic research paper is to develop a new argument, and a research paper will contain a literature review as one of its parts. In a research paper, you use the literature as a foundation and as support for a new insight that you contribute. The focus of a literature review, however, is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of others without adding new contributions.

How do I know when I can stop?

Literature reviews can be tricky because you don't want to stop before you've found everything relevant to your topic. There are a couple of guidelines for knowing when to stop looking for materials.

  1. If you have done steps 1.1-1.3 (below), when you start to see the same articles over again, then you have done your due diligence and can consider your lit review complete.
    1. Searched all relevant databases, using a variety of keywords and subject headings
    2. Mined article bibliographies for their cited references
    3. Looked in Google Scholar or Web of Science to see who has cited those articles
  2. Think of the assignment timeline. If you are writing your PhD thesis you can spend more time doing a comprehensive lit review than if you only have a few weeks until an assignment is due. At some point you need to stop.


Characteristics of a Good Literature Review

Characteristics of a Poor Literature Review

Synthesizes available research

Basically an annotated bibliography

Critical evaluation of sources

Analysis confined to describing the work

Appropriated breadth and depth

Narrow and Shallow

Clear and concise

Confusing and Longwinded

Uses rigorous and consistent methods

Constructed arbitrarily

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Social Sciences Librarian

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Mary Martin