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Political Sciences

This guide consolidates information sources which may be useful to students studying Political Science. It draws together subscription databases, websites, news sources, and online government documents

Finding government documents - United States

Hearings - an explanation

The Hearings of the House and Senate contain the verbatim transcripts of written and oral testimony given before House and Senate Committees and Subcommittees in public proceedings on proposed legislation, appropriations, investigations etc. The Hearings are held by one or more committees of Congress on important bills to determine the desirability and kinds of legislation in particular or general areas. Hearings can provide valuable sources of expert information on the particular topic of the hearings as well as texts of testimony, discussions, statements or papers collected during the course of the committee’s inquiry


Debates -an explanation

The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress. It is published daily when Congress is in session. The Congressional Record began publication in 1873, and is still published today. Debates for sessions prior to 1873 are recorded in The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (1789-1824), the Register of Debates in Congress (1824-1837), and the Congressional Globe (1833-1873).


Congressional Reports: An explanation

Congressional reports originate from congressional committees and deal with proposed legislation and issues under investigation.The main types of reports are: House and Senate reports; Senate executive reports; and conference reports.

Documents - Congressional Reports


Legislation - an explanation

The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is divided by broad subjects into 50 titles and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Code was first published in 1926. The next main edition was published in 1934, and subsequent main editions have been published every six years since 1934.

The United States Statutes at Large are the permanent collection of all laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress.

A bill is a legislative proposal before Congress. Bills from each house are assigned a number in the order in which they are introduced, starting at the beginning of each Congress (first and second sessions). Public bills pertain to matters that affect the general public or classes of citizens, while private bills pertain to individual matters that affect individuals and organizations, such as claims against the Government.


Primary Sources/Historical