U.S. Foreign Policy
Choosing a topic
When choosing a topic for your research paper, think about the following:
- Unless your instructor assigns a topic, try to select a topic that interests you.
- Make sure your topic is not too broad, or too narrow. You will find too much information when searching for a broad topic; and not enough information when searching for a narrow topic.
- If you already have a general topic, try searching the library's catalog or the library's databases for ideas on how to narrow that topic down.
- Visit the library's Reference Desk and request to view the following book: 10,000 ideas for term papers, projects, reports and speeches: Intriguing, original research topics for every student's need.
- For current events and issues in the news, try searching the library's database: CQ Researcher.
- For debatable or controversial issues, ask one of the librarians about the Opposing Viewpoints Series, the Taking Sides Series, Issues in Focus Series and/or the Current Controversies Series.
- Visit the Social Issues Research Guide. There you will find a list of current social issues to choose from.
Books will provide an excellent starting point for your research in the field of U.S. Foreign Policy. Reference books often give you background information and a general overview on your topic so that you can proceed with greater understanding to a more detailed treatment of your subject in other books and periodicals. Reference books may include specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, almanacs, atlases and/or statistical reports. The librarian at the Reference Desk can help in locating an appropriate source. Listed below are the titles and call numbers of some of the U.S. Foreign Policy books in the library's reference collection. The reference collection is located on the main level of the library. Books with a location of Reference cannot be checked out of the library. The Circulating Collection is on the second floor of the library. Books with a location of Circulating may be checked out.
To search the Catalog for a book, click on it's callnumber below.
Almanacs and Dictionaries
|Dictionary of American Foreign Affairs||Reference||E183.7.F58 1993|
|Dictionary of American History||Reference||E174 .D52 2003|
|Penguin Dictionary of International Relations||Reference||JZ1161 .E93 1998|
|The Almanac of American Politics||Reference||JK271.B343|
|Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy||Reference||E183.7.H28 2004|
|Encyclopedia of American Government||Reference||JK9.E52 1998|
|Encyclopedia of American History||Reference||E174.5.E52|
|Encyclopedia of American Political History||Reference||E183.E48 2001|
|Encyclopedia of the American Presidency||Reference||JK511.E53 1994|
|Encyclopedia of the Clinton Presidency||Reference||E885 .L48 2002|
|Encyclopedia of the Cold War||Reference||D843.A668 1994|
|Encyclopedia of the Reagan-Bush Years||Reference||JK511.L48 1996|
|Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century||Reference||E740.7.E53|
|Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: a political, social, & military...||Reference||DS557.7.E53 1998|
|Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations||Reference||E183.7.E53 1997|
|Europe since 1945: an encyclopedia||Reference||D1051.E873 2001|
|Great Debates at the United Nations: an encyclopedia of fifty ke...||Reference||KZ4968 .G67 2001|
|The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought||Reference||JA61.B57 1987|
|The Concise Encyclopedia of Democracy||Reference||JC423.C667 2000|
|Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations||Reference||G63.W67 2001|
|Chronological History of United States Foreign Relations, 1776 t...||Reference||E183.7.B745 1985|
|Documents of American Diplomacy: American Revolution – present||Reference||E183.7.D63 2002|
|Facts about the American Wars||Reference||E181.F28 1998|
|The Cold War, 1945-1991||Reference||D839.5 C65 1992|
|The Longman Companion to Cold War and detente, 1941-1991||Reference||D840.Y68 1993|
|The Oxford Companion to Politics of the World||Reference||JA61.O95 2001|
|The Oxford Companion to United States history||Reference||E174.O94 2001|
|The Oxford Companion to World War II||Reference||D740.094 1995|
|The Third World Handbook||Reference||D883.A76|
|U.S. Department of State : a Reference history||Reference||JZ1480.A4 1999|
The library catalog is used to locate books both at RVCC, as well as from other libraries in the Somerset County Library System. Books will provide in-depth information not found in reference sources.
- Start with a Keyword search. Once you find one or two books about your topic, check the book's record to see what Subjects are being used. Once you find the appropriate Subject Heading, repeat your search using those headings. Generally, the results from a Subject search will always be more accurate than the results from a Keyword search.
- If you know the title of the book you are looking for, do a Title search.
- If you are looking for a book with a specific author, do an Author search (last name first).
Suggested Subject Headings for U.S. Foreign Policy:
Click a subject heading below to use it as the search term for a Subject Search in the catalog.
- Diplomatic Negotiations in International Disputes
- International Relations
- Names of Wars (i.e., Vietnam Conflict, 1961-1975)
- Specific Foreign Policy Issues (i.e., North American Treaty Organization
- United States – Foreign Relations
Consult with the reference librarian to find the term best suited to your needs.
Browse the Collection:
Most of the books can be found in the following areas:
- E183.7-183.9 -- Diplomatic history. Foreign and general relations.
- E183.8 -- Relations with individual countries
- JA -- Political science (General)
- JK1-9993 -- United States political institutions and public administration
- JZ5-6530 -- International relations
All of the library's circulating books are located on the upper level of the library.
For additional library catalogs, including libraries in Hunterdon and Middlesex counties, consult the Additional Library Catalogs page. If you find a book in one of these catalogs that the library does not own, request the book using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
Research Databases - Finding Articles
The Evelyn S. Field Library has access to thousands of periodicals. (Periodicals can be magazines, scholarly journals, or newspapers.) Some periodicals are in the library's print (or hard copy) collection. However, the majority of periodicals are available in the Research Databases. These databases provide access to articles. This information is generally more current than material found in books.
Search for periodical articles on U.S. Foreign Policy using the databases listed below. They can be accessed from the Library Database Page. (If you are using these databases from an off-campus location, you will be asked to identify yourself by logging in with your Username and Password. This is the same login you use on campus. The Research Databases are available only to registered RVCC students.)
- CQ Researcher
The CQ Researcher explores a single issue in depth each week. The issues are chosen based on current news. This database is easy to check. If there is a relevant report, it's a great way to jump start your research. There are 44 reports each year including four expanded reports. Every 12,000-word report features comments from experts, lawmakers and citizens on all sides of every issue. Numerous charts, graphs and sidebar articles -- plus a pro/con feature, a chronology, bibliographies and a list of contacts.
- Facts on File
Provides general information on academic and career-related collections. This is an excellent source of graphics and encyclopedia length articles on general topics. Because it does not have a single interface, however, finding information may take some digging.
A reliable and comprehensive archive of important scholarly journal literature. JSTOR is important if you are doing a research project that needs older information in the arts and sciences. Due to its very nature as a retrospective journal archive, JSTOR does not contain current journal articles. The JSTOR database is unique because the complete back files of core scholarly journals have been digitized, starting with the very first issues, many of which date from the 1800's. Over 4 million pages are available.
- LexisNexis Academic
LEXIS-NEXIS® Academic Universe provides access to a wide range of news, business, legal, and reference information, including news from over 18,000 newspapers, magazines and news wires and company financial information.
- New York Times (Current)
New York Times is part of the Proquest Newspapers database. It includes the complete text of NYT from 2005 - current.
After finding an article on your research topic, the database will either provide a citation and summary of the article, or it will provide the full-text (the complete article). If you are only given a citation and summary of the article, you can check the Periodical Locator to determine if the periodical you are looking for is available in another database. (The Periodical Locator is an alphabetical list of all the journals the library has access to. Feel free to talk with a librarian for assistance.) If the article is not available in any of the library's research databases, request the article using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
If, for your assignment, you are required to have sources from scholarly journals, use the Identifying Scholarly Articles guide to help you determine if your source is a magazine article or a scholarly article.
- Academic Council on the United Nations System
The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) is an international institution with a distinguished membership of nearly a thousand scholars, teachers, practitioners and others active in the work and study of the United Nations System and other international organizations.
- American Political Science Association (APSA)
The American Political Science Association is the leading professional organization for the study of political science and serves more than 15,000 members in over 80 countries.
- Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs
The Council is the world's premier forum for research and education in ethics and international policy. They provide a home for those who explore the ethical dilemmas posed by issues such as deadly conflict, human rights violations, environmental protection, global economic disparities, and the politics of reconciliation.
- Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
The Council is a nonpartisan and independent membership organization that promotes understanding of foreign policy and America’s role in the world. The homepage links to primary documents like treaties, UN resolutions, speeches, communiqués, etc. as well as probing interviews with experts; brief “explainers” reported and written by the editorial staff of cfr.org that delve deeply into an issue; and reports from the Council, other institutions, and government agencies. Also has links to news coverage from media sources around the world
- Foreign Policy Association (FPA)
The Foreign Policy Association (FPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring the American public to learn more about the world. The site allows exploration by issue or region.
- International Studies Association (ISA)
The ISA promotes research and education about international affairs. With well over three thousand members in North America and around the world, ISA is the most respected and widely known scholarly association in this field. They cooperate with 53 international studies organizations in 32 countries, are a member of the International Social Science Council, and have nongovernmental consultative status with the United Nations
- Policy Library
Policy Library is a social, economic and foreign policy resource - updated daily with the latest jobs, research, and events. Policy Library members reach an audience of hundreds of thousands of policy makers, politicians, academics and students.
- Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
The task of the Institute is to conduct research on questions of conflict and cooperation of importance for international peace and security, with the aim of contributing to an understanding of the conditions for peaceful solutions of international conflicts and for a stable peace.
- Amnesty International
Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all.
- Center for Security Policy
The Center for Security Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security and then ensures that such issues are the subject of both focused, principled examination and effective action by recognized policy experts, appropriate officials, opinion leaders, and the general public.
- Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental organization, supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide. They are dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.
- International Chamber of Commerce
The International Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1919 with an overriding aim that remains unchanged: to serve world business by promoting trade and investment, open markets for goods and services, and the free flow of capital.
- International Energy Agency
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an intergovernmental organization which acts as energy policy advisor to 28 member countries in their effort to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for their citizens
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an alliance of 26 countries from North America and Europe committed to fulfilling the goals of the North Atlantic Treaty signed on 4 April 1949. In accordance with the Treaty, the fundamental role of NATO is to safeguard the freedom and security of its member countries by political and military means. NATO is playing an increasingly important role in crisis management and peacekeeping.
- The World Security Institute
The World Security Institute is a non-profit organization committed to independent research and journalism on global affairs and security.
- United Nations Environment Program
UNEP is the United Nations system’s designated entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional level.
- United Nations Security Council
This organization functions to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
- World Trade Organization
The WTO provides a forum for negotiating agreements aimed at reducing obstacles to international trade and ensuring a level playing field for all, thus contributing to economic growth and development. The WTO also provides a legal and institutional framework for the implementation and monitoring of these agreements, as well as for settling disputes arising from their interpretation and application.
- Call or visit the Reference Desk to speak to one of the librarians. The Reference Desk is located on the main floor of the library. The phone number is 908-526-1200 x8350.
- Email your question to one of the librarians using the Ask-A-Librarian Service.
- For further information about this guide, please contact Robert Egan
Last Updated - 05 March 2009