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PLS 3260 The American Presidency

Library and other resources for researching the administrations of Presidents Truman through Obama.

Keyword choice

Below are some suggested keywords to consider using when searching for journal articles and e-books/print books in the library catalog. Your assignment is to "evaluate the success or failure" of your assigned presidential administration.

  • analysis
  • fail*
  • effectiv*
  • evaluat*
  • examination
  • president
  • presidency
  • presidential
  • administration*
  • Plus the last name of your assigned president.

*NOTE: Some of the suggested keywords above have an asterisk which simultaneously searches for different forms of a word. This is called truncation. For example, fail* will search for fail, failing, failure, failures, etc. Be aware that truncation can also retrieve words you did not intend in your search. For example, truncating for "arm" or "arms" will retrieve arm, arms, armament, armadillo, armistice, army, etc.

NOTE TWO: If you are assigned one of the Bush presidencies, your search technique will need to employ some way of differentiating the two so you do not retrieve an overwhelming mixture of both administrations. For materials written during the time period of the administration, limit your search by specific year dates. For example, the first Bush presidency of George H. W. Bush (George Herbert Walker Bush) occurred during the years of 1989-1993. To search for Bush journal articles published during his presidency, limit your dates to 1989 and 1993 inclusive. Below is a screen shot example from Academic Search Elite database.

Academic Search elite database

For articles about the two Bush administrations published AFTER their presidential years, you will need to try adding their first and middle names or initials in your search to obtain results for one or the other Bush administration.

"George H.W. Bush" OR "George Bush" [the first Bush]

"George W. Bush" OR "George Walker Bush" OR "Bush II" OR "Bush Two" for the second Bush [Additionally, a non-scholarly, slang term for the second Bush is "dubya" (for his middle initial "W") and does in fact occur in the published literature]