PS 142L: Civil War, Insurgency, and Terrorism
Research Tips for Final Paper
General suggestions for finding sources
Scholar.Google.com: http://scholar.google.com/advanced_scholar_search?q=council+on+foreign+relations&hl=en. I recommend using "Google Scholar" as your primary method for searching for sources. Google scholar works like the Google search engine, but searches only academic articles. Most importantly, it lists the most well-known articles on each topic at the top of the search. The most useful article for your research will probably not be at the top of the least, but can usually be found on the first two pages.
You should try at least 4 different searches before giving up. In some cases the name of the country or the name of the war will provide good results. For example, a search of "Angolan Civil War" produces reasonable good results. In other cases, you may need to try different words in conjunction with the country or group. For example, searches of "Colombia drug war", "Colombia FARC", and "Colombia War origins" will produce slightly different results.
Another way to refine your search is to enter in a specific publications into publication field. International Security, Foreign Affairs, and World Politics are the types of journals that will be useful for your essay. If you enter "International Security", "Foreign Affairs", or "World Politics", in the publications box (towards the bottom of the page), the search will only return results from those journals.
Google Scholar will work best for well-known conflicts or conflicts that have been ongoing for a number of years. It will work least well for finding information for potential conflicts or finding information about very recent events.
For background information on very recent conflicts you may want to try one of the websites below.
Especially for conflicts
For conflicts around the world:
Below are a list of topics that could make for a good research paper. Under each topic I've describe a policy question that a paper on that topic could address. In addition, I have listed some sources that could serve as a starting point for your research. These sources are far from sufficient, but will be helpful in introducing you to the topic.
The Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) used suicide terrorism extensively in their three decade long civil war. Recently, however, the Sri Lankan government effective destroy the Tamil Tigers.
Potential Policy Question: What can be done to solve governance problems after terrorism? Now that the Tigers appear to be defeated, how can a lasting peace be created?
Sources: Bloom, Mia. 2005. "Ethnic Conflict, State
Terror, and Suicide Bombings in
Policy Questions: What is the best
response to fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban (if
necessary) ? Is Stanley McChrystal
plan for counterinsurgency in
Op-Ed piece by Robert Paper in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/15/opinion/15pape.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1.
New York Times Magazine Article: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/10/01/world/middleeast/afghanistan-policy.html
Frontline Special on
60 minutes has done two recent segments on
Article in the
General Stanely McChrystal assessment of operations in
Sean M. Maloney, "A violent impediment: the evolution
of insurgent operations in
Policy Questions: Is partition a
viable long‐term solution for Iraq? Why or why not? Are there
other institutional solutions, such as a different type of power-sharing constitution, that could be taken to improve the political
(you should have not trouble finding sources on
Byman, "An Autopsy of the
Packer. George. 2006. "The Lessons of Tal Afar." The New Yorker.
James. 2007. "
Policy Questions: How should the