POLS 063:
African Politics


Sarah Elichko / Social Sciences Librarian
February 18, 2019

Today's research workshop:

• Using news & social media for research
• Information management

• Identifying relevant scholarship

Using news & social media for research

• Tools for monitoring social media

• International, national, local

News & Social Media

"In the overwhelming majority of newspapers across the continent, news about the rest of Africa comes via the usual sources, principally Reuters, the Associated Press, Agence France Presse (AFP) and the BBC."

- Simon Allison, The Guardian (2013)

News & Social Media

Go to Google News and search:
APC election

Go to AllAfrica.com and do the same search.

Focus on the news sources included on each site.  What do you notice?

News & Social Media

Compare recent social media posts with coverage in news outlets:

• Keep your news results open.

• Go to TrendsMap and look up your country

   (or try a major city).

• How much overlap is there?  

• What else do you notice?



• Organizing ideas + research materials

• Collaborating effectively

Information Management

Go to coggle.it

Individually, brainstorm some possible ideas and angles for your research. Use Coggle to record.


(In a few minutes, we'll have time for discussion.)

Information Management

With your group, share your research maps.

Discuss areas of overlap and difference in how you've been thinking about possible directions for your project.

Identifying relevant scholarly research

• Practices for intentional searching

• Research tools focused on African Studies    and Political Science

Identifying research

"The search terms I have chosen   encode a tacit hypothesis..."  

Importance of searching intentionally

​- Ted Underwood, "Theorizing Research Practices We Forgot to Theorize 20 Years Ago"

Identifying research

Go to the Research Guide, then to Finding Scholarly Books & Articles.


Click the S next to ProQuest Social Sciences (database). Search for: Nigeria election


Keeping your keyword the same, compare results for:
- Anywhere search
​- Anywhere except full text (ALL)
- Subject search 

Identifying research

Keep a list of search terms


Consider what search elements you can modify to improve your results:

- Date

- Subject / Location

- Type of source (journal, magazine)

- Research tool


Re-sort results to get a different view

Consider the relevant historical factors:

  • What are the origins of the issue/problem?  (When?)

  • Is this history contested?


Assess the political nature of the issue of focus:

  • What are the interests and policies of the most

     influential actors?
  • Whose interests may be marginalized? Under-represented?

Use research tools from guide to explore your topics further.  Share what you find with other group members.

POLS 063: African Politics

By Swarthmore Reference

POLS 063: African Politics

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