Political Science resources: Citing & writing

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If you need help, please contact Ean Henninger, Liaison Librarian at 778.782.5043 or ehenning@sfu.ca or Ask a librarian.


Style guides

Your research paper and bibliography will need to be formatted according to a specific style. For help with formatting, check out the SFU Library's citation & style guides and their examples:

Organizing citations

When you have chosen a particular article, book, website, etc., be sure to save its citation information. Make sure to note the page number(s) of passages you plan to paraphrase or directly quote in your research paper. Create a draft bibliography with citation information and links.

Consider using citation management software to collect articles, books, and other documents together in one place, and to create properly formatted references in almost any style in seconds. Citation management software helps you to keep track of your sources while you work and to store your references for later use.


    The Student Learning Commons (SLC) provides in-person consultations, workshops, and resources to help you develop your writing, learning, and studying skills. See the SLC's Academic writing resources and Upcoming workshops for practical tips on writing papers in general.

    Also, check out the SLC's Assignment Calculator. This tool helps you break down your assignment into mini-tasks each with their own due-dates, so that you can schedule your school work into your life more easily.

    Finally, the following guides offer advice on writing specifically in Political Science:

    Guidelines for writing research papers and essays
    The SFU Political Science Department's ​​​​​writing guide outlining topic development, essay construction, essay writing format, quotations, citing, and citation styles.

    Political science essay writing guidelines
    A guide from McGill University's POL department outlining topic development, research, structure, and style (note that the document is in reverse-page order).

    Essay writing: A personal view
    A guide from the University of Toronto's David Rayside outlining topic development, research, introductions, planning, drafting, style, bias, references, etc.

    The political science student writer's manual and reader's guide [print]
    A manual that helps build skills in reading, writing, scholarship, policy analysis, and analysis of government documents, public opinion, etc.