Step 1: Use Zotero to organize and cite your research
If you haven't had a chance to set up a Zotero Collection for your PAE yet, do it now! Zotero not only helps you keep track of and correctly format citations—it is also a fantastic tool to keep your research and notes neatly organized in one place, easily searchable, and safely backed up into the cloud.
And if you're working with a partner, you can even create a collaborative Zotero group library that you can all contribute to and share research in.
Three ways to get help using Zotero:
- Check our Zotero Guide.
- Email HKS Librarians to make an individual or small group appointment. We can help you with most things from installation troubleshooting to organizing your library, from inserting and formatting citations in Word or Google Docs to setting up a collaborative group library.
- Attend a workshop. Dates and times are posted on KNet.
Step 2: Brush up on research methods
- HKS Research Methods on Demand (RMoD) (Harvard Login)RMoD introduces you to a range of research methods, topical reading lists, and examples of how masters students have used these methods in their research, particularly research for their PAEs and SYPAs.
- Sage Research Methods (Harvard Login)This collection provides a range of tools to develop the right methods for your research project and links to relevant book, journal, and reference content as well as a collection of case studies of real social research.
Step 3: Start searching general library resources
The place to start searching for books (both print and electronic) is Harvard's library catalog, HOLLIS:
- Sign in to HOLLIS with your Harvard Key for the most complete results and a more streamlined user experience.
- Use the "Library Catalog" search option (not "Everything") if you're looking specifically for books, journals, or previous PAEs.
- Use filters and facets to refine your search results if necessary, or use the advanced search option for more targeted searches.
For scholarly articles, start with one or several of our broad, multi-disciplinary databases:
- Academic Search Premier (Harvard Login) Multidisciplinary database covering primarily the social sciences and humanities, with decent coverage of the sciences. Full text access may not be available for all citations; click on the "Try Harvard Library" links to check if full text is available elsewhere.
- Google Scholar (Harvard Login) Harvests citation metadata (and some full text) of scholarly literature from a broad range of publisher websites, institutional repositories, etc.; for maximum utility, link your Harvard Library affiliation to Google Scholar.
- Social Science Premium Collection (Harvard Login) Comprehensive database of social science scholarship, covering the disciplines of political science, sociology, criminology, education, linguistics, and information science.
- Web of Science (Harvard Login) Multidisciplinary database containing citations of primarily science and social science scholarship; particularly helpful for citation analysis. Click on the "Try Harvard Library" links to find the full text of an article.
Then, explore the more specialized resources recommended in the "Dig Deeper" section of this guide or in our subject-specific research guides (e.g., Criminal Justice, Health Policy, or Poverty & Income Inequality).
News articlesFor news, check the vast array of individual publications you have access to on our guide to popular newspapers and magazines. Also check the following aggregators, which both allow you to search over multiple publications simultaneously and include many publications that are not available individually:
- Nexis Uni (Harvard Login) Provides access to thousands of newspapers from around the world.
- Factiva (Harvard Login) Database of business and news publications, including the Boston Globe.* To browse recent issues of a specific publication, select "News Pages" at the top of the screen, "Factiva Pages," and then browse titles by date and section. * Access to the Boston Globe may also be available via the Massachusetts Library System.
- ProQuest Central (Harvard Login) Database with a vast array of U.S. and international publications, including a substantial coverage of news outlets from around the world. Excellent coverage of Latin American and regional U.S. newspapers, as well as good coverage of primarily English-language newspapers in other parts of the world. To limit to limit to news sources only, go to the Advanced Search and select newspapers (and/or additional types of news outlets) under "Source type."
Policy papers and other gray literature
First, try our HKS Think Tank Search, a custom Google search across the websites of 1,200+ U.S. and international think tanks. Simply search using standard Google conventions (i.e. putting quotation marks around phrases).
Also of interest:
- Policy File Index (Harvard Login)Abstracts of and links to domestic and international public policy research published by think tanks, university programs, and other research organizations.
- RePEc: Research Papers in EconomicsProvides links to working papers and journal articles, primarily in economics.
- SSRN: Social Science Research NetworkContains working papers in social science, law and business/economics fields. Registration is required.
Most past PAEs can be discovered in HOLLIS. If you know the title and/or author, you can use these to search for the PAE. You can also enter
"policy analysis exercise" using quotes in your search and add keywords to find relevant PAEs.
Here are some example searches including keywords:
Starting with the MPP class of 2020, PAEs are available electronically. Earlier PAEs can be requested in print using the "request pickup" option on their respective HOLLIS record; they will be delivered to the HKS Library and can be used in the library only.