Skip to Main Content

International Studies

This guide lists American University Library databases and print resources, and free Web sites that are of use to the study and research of International Studies.

Searching ProQuest Databases Video

This video will show you how to search ProQuest databases. (4:16)  It includes:

  • How to get to ProQuest databases
  • How to search Worldwide Political Science Abstracts and get the full text of the articles.
  • How to narrow down your search to get more relevant articles.

Searching ProQuest Databases (Screen Capture)

ProQuest is a company offering a large number of databases.  Among their databases are some of the most important in their disciplines.  For examples, for political science it is the Worldwide Political Science Abstracts.  For economics, it is EconLit.

ProQuest allows users to search more than one of their databases at the same time.  This feature saves time.

Let’s search for articles about the political aspects of Japan’s nuclear policy. 

We will begin by selecting the main political science database: Worldwide Political Science Abstracts.

We will then add another important political science database: PAIS International. 


We are now searching 2 databases at the same time.

In our example, there are two key concepts: Japan and nuclear policy.  These will be the basis for our search term. 

We will not search in all the seach fields for: japan and nuclear. That will give us too many irrelevant results  Instead, we will do 2 searches which are better for this example.

1.  We will search in the Subject Heading: japan.  And we will search in the Document Title for: nuclear.

Subject Heading is similar to tagging.  It means the articles will be about Japan, not simply mentions Japan.  The Subject Heading is useful for searching countries.  We are searching "nuclear" in the Document Title because if the article is about nuclear matter, then a good clear title would include the word "nuclear."

Here are our search results.  Remember to sort the results by the most recent first, because the most recent article should have the most up to date bibliography.  You can then limit the articles to the document types you want, for example, peer-reviewed journals, dissertations, or scholarly journals which includes non-peer-reviewed journals.

2.  An alternative search would be to search the Document Title for: japan* and nuclear. 

The asterisk " * " is a truncation command.  It will look for all words starting with the letters japan.  Therefore, we will be searching for the words: japan, japanese.

To do a more comprehensive search, we will add the truncation symbol “*” at the end of Japan.  This will make the database search for all words starting with japan so we will get the words Japan and Japanese.  The truncation symbol is very useful to get all forms of a word ending.