Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Social Studies 98


Contexts, Overviews, Consensus Views


The Oxford Handbook of Global Studies (2018)  

Essays explore the phenomenon  through a broad range of approaches. Several chapters focus on the emergence of the field and its historical antecedents. Other chapters explore analytic and conceptual approaches to teaching and research in global studies. The largest section deals with the subject matter of global studies—challenges from diasporas and pandemics to the global city and the emergence of a transnational capitalist class. The final two sections feature chapters that take a critical view of globalization from diverse perspectives and essays on global citizenship—the ideas and institutions that guide an emerging global civil society.


The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism (2013)    TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty six essays by an international team of leading scholars, providing a global coverage of the history of nationalism in its different aspects -- ideas, sentiments, politics. Every chapter takes the form of an interpretative essay which, by a combination of thematic focus,comparison, and regional perspective enables the reader to understand nationalism as a distinct and global historical subject.

The book covers the emergence of nationalist ideas, sentiments, and cultural movements before the formation of a world of nation-states as well as nationalist politics before and after the era of the nation-state, with chapters covering Europe,the Middle East, North-East Asia, South Asia, South-East Asia, and the Americas. Essays on everyday national sentiment and race ideas in fascism are accompanied by chapters on nationalist movements opposed to existing nation-states, nationalism and international relations, and the role of external intervention into nationalist disputes within states. 

Routledge International Handbook of Globalization Studies (2010)  TABLE OF CONTENTS

Offers perspectives on the history of globalization and key theories that have examined its causes and consequences. Substantive sections consider demographic, economic, technological, social and cultural changes in globalization. The handbook examines many negative aspects – new wars, slavery, illegal migration, pollution and inequality – but concludes with an examination of responses to these problems through human rights organizations, international laborr law, and the growth of cosmopolitanism. 


Oxford Bibliographies Online

OBOs combine the best features of the annotated bibliography with an authoritative subject encyclopedia. They aim to help you identify some of the most important and influential scholarship on a broad social, political, cultural or interdisciplinary disciplinary topic. They're regularly updated to remain current.

Often the issue in information-seeking isn't scarcity of material but overabundance. OBO entries can help you solve the problem of knowing what or who to read or which voices in the conversation you should give some fuller attention.

Examples of entries relevant to course themes:


Since 1932,the Annual Reviews series has offered authoritative syntheses of the primary research literature in 46 academic fields, including political sciencesociology, and anthropology.

A search of Annual Reviews can therefore help you easily identify—and contextualize—the principal contributions that have been made in your field.  The comprehensive critical review not only summarizes a topic but also roots out errors of fact or concept and provokes discussion that will lead to new research activity. 

The advanced search screen  offers excellent search tips, including ways select certain AR titles or limit to particular disciplines and narrow by date.  

TIP: If you find a review that seems on point, but rather dated (10 years or so), try searching for it (or one of the authorities it cites) in Google Scholar.  Then follow the “cited by” links. You  may discover something more recent there. 


The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, first published in 2001 and completely revised in

2015, is an effort to map the map the social and behavioral sciences on a grand scale. As such, it is a vast, authoritative, and efficient first point of entry for researchers. 

Each article provides a detailed overview of the individual, idea, phenomenon, movement or field it treats, complete with cross-references.  

All articles are followed with useful bibliographies identifying the scholarship and texts that have been most important in shaping consensus thinking as well as the figures who are now making cutting edge contributions.

Because the  IESBS is part of a larger online information pavilion, called Science Direct, related content links will sometimes appear on the right side of the subject entry, to encourage further exploration and discovery. 

Databases Beyond JSTOR and HOLLIS

Academic Search Premier

The advantages of Academic Search Premier are 1) its multidisciplinarity; 2) its inclusion of very recent content; and 3) its mix of scholarly, news, and magazine content.

Your searching may seem more controlled than in HOLLIS and less narrowly focused than JSTOR, but that said, ASP can sometimes also seem broader than it is deep.  When that's the case, try one of the databases listed below, or scan the longer list of EBSCOhost databases that the Harvard Libraries subscribes to.


Google Scholar 

Most of the research databases you use through the Harvard Library  search for information differently than Google Scholar.  Most base their results lists on "metadata" -- the descriptive information about items that identifies features  in certain fields (title, author,  table of contents, subject terms, etc.). 

While Google Scholar's algorithms account for some of this same information, it adds full-text into the mix when it retrieves, sorts, and ranks search results.

What does this mean for you? Sometimes, better relevance, especially on the first page or so. 

And sometimes, given that it searches full-text, Google Scholar might reveal more quickly than our databases where a hard-to-find nugget of scholarly information is hidden away in a published article.

Google Scholar can also be a good place to do a "cited reference" search in order to trace scholarly reaction to/engagement a particular article forward in time. 


CIAO [Columbia International Affairs Online]

CIAO is the most comprehensive source for theory and research in international affairs. It publishes a wide range of scholarship from 1991 onward that includes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, proceedings from conferences, books, journals and policy briefs.


International Political Science Abstracts 

Produced by the International Political Science Association, it collects and makes searchable political science articles published in scholarly journals and yearbooks worldwide. Topics include method and theory; political thinkers and ideas; political and administrative institutions; political processes; international relations; and national and area studies. Articles in languages other than English are abstracted in French, with all titles in English.


PAIS Index (Public Affairs Information System)

Covers issues in the public debate through selective coverage of a wide variety of international sources including journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference papers, web content, and more


 Worldwide Political Science Abstracts 

WPSA provides citations to and summaries of journal literature in political science and related fields, including political sociology, political theory, economics, law, and public policy. 


 HEIN Online

The standard databases for accessing  law reviews, legal publications, and primary source case law. 

Remember to use  all your HOLLIS search strategies here; good results depend on them -- and operators in all caps are obligatory. 


Sociological Abstracts

A core resource for Social Studies concentrators, researchers, professionals, and students working in sociology, social planning and policy, and many related disciplines. It draws its contents from more than 1800 journals, relevant dissertations, selected books and book chapters, and association papers, as well as citations for book reviews and other media.

Social Science Research Network 

SSRN is a  worldwide collaborative devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research. It's often an excellent place to check for papers that may have been presented in a pre-publication, "working form" or at conferences. Through a partnership with some major publishers, moreover, SSRN will sometimes identify new studies "in press" (i.e., slated for publication in an upcoming journal issue).  Most documents are downloadable free of charge, in keeping with the site's emphasis on open access. 

NGOs, IGOs, and Think Tanks


These two custom search engines allow you to canvass information that might otherwise be difficult to turn up. Many of the documents produced by IGOs and NGOs are widely distributed on the web but not necessarily included in standard databases of published scholarly research.

IGO Search Engine  includes material from the World Bank, UN Development Program (UNDP), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), European Union, Organization of American States, the Asian Development Bank and many others.

NGO Search Engine includes local, regional and international NGOs  and draws its materials from sources as diverse as AARP, Earth Watch Institute, International Crisis Group, OXFAM, the World Agricultural Forum. Sites were chosen based on their consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO).


word cloud  image of think tank key research areasThink Tank Search (Harvard Kennedy School)

Brings together the policy writings of 1200 think tanks, US and global, from across the ideological spectrum. Publications of think tanks, while often influential, are scattered across the web and thus difficult to canvass.  

Searching HOLLIS in the Age of COVID




1.  Understand what it is.

HOLLIS combines the extensive contents of our library catalog, the record every item owned by every Harvard Library with those of another, large and multidisciplinary database of journal, newspaper, and magazine articles. 


When you search "everything"  searching both of these databases together, at once. For better or for worse, "everything" is our system default. 


2. Know how to work it.

Creating search strings with some of the techniques below can help you get better results up front. 




3. Take control of your results.

While the broad and panoramic approach to searching HOLLIS can be mind-opening, you can sometimes find yourself overwhelmed by either the numbers or types of results your search returns.


When that happens, try one of these easy tricks:


Limit your Everything search results set just to the items listed in the LIBRARY CATALOG.

Your numbers will immediately get smaller. Keep in mind, though, that the results will be heavily weighted toward book-length studies.


Limit your Everything search results set to items that are identified as PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES.

You'll eliminate newspaper and magazine materials as well as books, of course, but you'll also raise the visibility of scholarly journal articles in what displays. 


Think about limiting your results to publications from the last 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.

By doing so you'll get a snapshot of the most recent research trends and scholarly approaches in a field (or around a particular issue).

Experiment with limiting your searches to materials available  
You'll reduce your numbers of books by a wide margin, not often a good strategy, but an expedient one in exigent circumstances.  Learn more about strategies under the Pandemic Considerations tab. 




Your "default" approach to searching Harvard's catalog, HOLLIS, is probably similar to your Google approach: enter some words, see what comes up, then try again or improve from there. 

But BROWSING in the catalog is an under-appreciated research strategy, especially when you're trying to discover your interest. It helps you see how writing ABOUT an author, an idea, an event, etc. has been broken down and categorized. So instead of getting the typical list of titles, you see results in terms of sub-topics. Inspiration may lie there!


Open HOLLIS. Click on the  link above the search box. Then select SUBJECT. 



Browsing subject headings lists can teach you a lot about searching, because they rely on standardized language and standard ways of qualifying or further describing a give subject.  For example, these additional words may relate to a subject's geography (united states, brazil,  etc), or the time period that's under discussion in a book (19th century, or 2lst century). Sometimes, a specific marker of the type of information is also included in a subject heading, like statistics; legislation; handbooks; case studies; etc.).



Despite the fact that our physical items are unavailable and buildings are shuttered, HOLLIS can and should continue to be a key research resource, wherever students are.  That's in part because of the sheer size and enormous variety of what it contains, but also because the content students can surface there is substantial.  

Here are some ways to think through your digital options in HOLLIS

1. Scan & Deliver

This service, free to Harvard students even before the pandemic, can be a lifesaver when you find something in the catalog that's essential -- but only available in print.

Scan & Deliver allows you to request a PDF of an article, a portion of a book (and now, a portion of a special collection, under some circumstances). Just remember that the library staff  responsible for this service are returning to campus slowly, so the response time (usually within 4 days) may be delayed.

NOTE: Initiate Scan and Deliver requests through HOLLIS.

2. Hathi Trust Temporary Emergency Access Library 

IHathiTrust has a digitized copy, you'll be able to check it out, reserves-style. Presently, loans are given for 1 hour, automatically renewable if there's no waiting list for the item you're using.

Hathi Trust materials can't be downloaded or printed out (when they're in copyright), but the upside is that you'll have excellent access to our collection in print, even when you can't use the print. 

Normally, your access to HathiTrust items is seamless via Harvard; when you see the record details, click on the   link to initiate check out.

NOTE: If you go directly into HathiTrust through the link above, be sure you click on the button, top right  and choose Harvard University.

3. Internet Archive Open Library

For books not available online via a HOLLIS link or through HathiTrust, the Open Library may be a good next step. You'll need to create a free account to "check out" books (temporarily, for up to 2 weeks).  

4. Lamont West Door Pickup (if you're in / near Cambridge)

Materials that are available for checkout are requested online via HOLLIS; they are paged for you by library staff. When they are ready, you receive an email directing you to schedule a pick up time (15-minutes windows, as available)


Tools for Locating Full-Text and Managing Research


One simple change can turn Google Scholar into what's effectively a Harvard database -- with links to the full-text of articles that the library can provide. Here's what to do:  Look to the left of the GS screen and click on the "hamburger" (); then click on .  Look for "Library Links."  Then type Harvard University into the search box and save your choice.  As long as you allow cookies, the settings will keep.  

Lean Library: a browser plugin that (nearly always) identifies digital availability of items at Harvard and runs automatically as you search books and articles.  


 Zoteroa free, open source citation management tool will take the process of collecting and organizing citations, incorporating them into your paper, and creating a bibliography or works cited page to the next level. 

It's worth the small investment of time to learn Zotero.  A good guide, produced by Harvard librarians, is available here: