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Social and Political Science Resource Guide

Social science is the branch of science devoted to the study of human society and the interactions of groups and individuals within a society. In generally, the term social sciences is used to describe the broad academic area that includes the fields of anthropology, economics, education, history, law, political science, psychology, sociology, social science and many more.

Political science is a discipline within the social sciences. The American Political Science Association defines political science as "the study of governments, public policies and political processes, systems, and political behavior." Fields within political science include, but are not limited to, political theory, international relations, political philosophy, political ideology, policy studies and political economy.

Many in-depth resources in social and political science are readily available online. A cross-disciplinary approach is often evident on websites that focus on these areas of study because the issues don't fall neatly among the individual fields. In addition to extensive data, research and reports, some scholarly journals are also available online for free. From anthropology to demographics, law and justice, the Internet brings authoritative resources to the laptop or desktop computer.   

Social Sciences


  • American Anthropological Association: Site offers extensive resources in anthropology and a link to their interactive website RACE.
  • The Society for Historical Archaeology: Focused on studying past societies of the modern era (1400A.D.-present) that left behind material evidence of their existence, links are provided to projects including Underwater, Unlocking the Past and the interactive Exploring the Past.
  • Human Origins: The Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University makes available resources in the research and study of human origins, including Lucy's Story. Also links to Becoming Human with its interactive timeline that spans 7 million years of human lineage.
  • Anthropology Courses: A page that lists and links to all the anthropology courses available from Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseWare.
  • Anthropology at the Smithsonian: Online home of the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Offers online exhibits and downloadable issues of AnthroNotes, a publication for educators.


  • World Development: World Bank website that offers data and statistics on key development areas. Many resources are open access in addition to subscription reports.
  • NIA Demography Centers: The National Institute on Aging and its university centers offer resources for research in the demography of aging.
  • Diversity Measures: The Harvard School of Public Health makes available extensive data and reports related to diversity, quality of life and opportunity for 362 US Metropolitan areas through DiversityData.
  • Demographic Research: A free open access online journal from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, publishes peer-reviewed articles in the field of population science.
  • Demographic Resources: Page with extensive links to online demographic resources from the University of Wisconsin.


  • Journal of Humanitarian Assistance: Journal for the analysis of and intervention in humanitarian crises, managed by the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University.
  • Disasters: Quarterly peer-reviewed journal focused on disaster studies, management and policy, published by Wile-Blackwell.
  • The Journal of ERW and Action: A print and online magazine devoted to disseminating information about global landmine action, including humanitarian mine clearance.
  • Internal Displacement: Resources from the research by the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement.
  • Humanitarian Resource Institute: Resources available include global and family preparedness, disaster response and emerging diseases.

Social Welfare

  • Poverty: Resources related to poverty in the United States from the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Aging Society: Research and analysis about public policy issues of aging in the U.S. and the world at large.
  • Human Needs: Page with deep resources on a broad range of human needs issues.
  • The Finance Project: Extensive information--reports and research on issues that affect children, families and communities.
  • Children's Bureau: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website for the Children's Bureau within the Administration for Children & Families. Links to information about social welfare programs, research and resources.

Political Science

Justice and Law

  • Justice Policy Center: The Urban Institute offers research on crime and justice.
  • Problem-Solving Justice: Resources surrounding issues that relate to problem-solving justice programs, experiments and implementation funded by the US Department of Justice.
  • VERA: The Institute of Justice offers openly accessible justice-related resources, including articles, podcasts and videos.
  • Sur International Journal on Human Rights: Online version of the Journal of the Human Rights University Network.
  • Harvard Human Rights Journal: Online journal which publishes original scholarly works on international and domestic human rights issues.

Political Science

  • American Political Science Association: Resources in teaching political science.
  • Hoover Institution: Stanford University's public policy center provides resources in politics, economy and political economy.
  • Center on Women & Public Policy: Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota offers extensive case studies on women's issues and public policy.
  • Political & Economic Studies: The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies makes available a databank, information about African American elected officials and national opinion polls reflecting African American political views.
  • Study of American Politics: Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies with links to its Center for the Study of American Politics.

("Legal information found on this page does not constitute legal advice.")

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