Olson Library Home Page Visit NMU's Home Page Olson Library Home Page Visit the NMU Home Page MyNMU EduCat


PA 500: Research Methods of Public Administration

Distance Library Services: Take advantage of the resources we can offer you.

Non-NMU Internet Service Providers (AT&T, Charter, Cox, etc.) will need the VPN installed and running to access the databases.

Reference Resources--just a sample

The effective public manager: achieving success in a changing government organizations. (this is an ebook)

Dictionary of Public Policy and Administration REF H97.S483 2004

Handbook of Research Methods in Public Administration (this is an ebook)

Handbook of Public Policy Evaluation H97.H359 2002

Handbook of Public Information Systems (this is an ebook)

The Public Administration Dictionary REF JA61.C47

Higher Ground: Ethics and Leadership in the Modern University. LB2341 .K39 2006

Library Catalogs and Databases

OneSearch is our popular database that searches across many resources. Suggested subject terms to use: "political planning", "municipal government", "policy sciences", "public administration", "local government", "administrative procedure". The results will be many; narrow your results by type of publication.

For narrower results within specific fields of study, go to the lists of subject specific databases linked above.

NMU has access to over 80 journals related to public administration. If you have found a publication and you aren't sure if it is peer reviewed, look up the title in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. They will use the term "refereed".

Narrower databases for public administration:

  • ABI/INFORM Global – Journal articles, newspapers, and reports covering all aspects of business. Direct company link to Hoover's company information & analysis. 1971 to present.
  • Business Insights: Essentials – Brought to you by the State of Michigan via the Michigan eLibrary (http://mel.org).
  • Google Scholar. Very good general "database" pointing to resources across all discplines. Does not work or behave like most other databases, though.
  • JSTOR – Complete, searchable, full text articles from over 1,000 core scholarly journals. 1878 to the most recent 1-5 years (varies by title).
  • LegalTrac – Over 1500 journals, newspapers, and other resources relating to the field of law. 1980 to present. Brought to you by the State of Michigan via the Michigan Electronic Library (http://mel.org).
  • Westlaw Next – Provides access to a variety of legal information, including federal and state case law, the United States Code Annotated, the Code of Federal Regulations, the Federal Register, state statutes and administrative codes, and more. Also included are 900 law journals and reviews. (select Secondary Sources, then Law Reviews & Journals, then begin your search).
  • Sociological Abstracts – Journal articles, books, and other resources on all aspects of sociology and related disciplines. Subjects include demography, environmental interactions, family and social welfare, social psychology, human biology, women's studies, health, medicine, law, etc. 1952 to present; abstracts since 1974.

NMU's library catalog, WorldCat, and MelCat are three sources for books (WorldCat have the most, and include theses and dissertations, but keep in mind the timing for interlibrary loans).

U.S. Government Resources

General Search Engines
USA.gov. The government's official web portal. Contains Federal, state and local resources.

Specific Resources
Regulations.gov. Your source for all regulations (or rulemakings) issued by U.S. government agencies. Includes Federal regulations that are open and closed for comment as published in the Federal Register (linked below).
Federal Register. Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.
United States Code. 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. Since 1926, the United States Code has been published every six years. In between editions, annual cumulative supplements are published in order to present the most current information. Documents are available only as ASCII text files. (these are the laws we have to follow)
The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. Each volume of the CFR is updated once each calendar year and is issued on a quarterly basis. (these are how we follow the laws)
Statutes at Large. The United States Statutes at Large, typically referred to as the Statutes at Large, is the permanent collection of all laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress. The Statutes at Large is prepared and published by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Every public and private law passed by Congress is published in the Statutes at Large, in order of the date it was enacted into law.

Homeland Security Digital Library. Although a database of material related to homeland security policy and strategy related documents, resources about public adminsitration are certainly here. This database is available for NMU students and faculty.

Two agencies that will have in-depth studies in aspects of public administration are the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office. Both websites allow you to search for publications based upon keyword.

Municipal Codes Online. Free, searchable, online availability for hundreds (thousands?) of city municipal codes. Not all local governments are represented here. For additional government listings, see State and Local Government on the Net, which has links to all levels of government that have a web presence.

Professional Societies and Organizations

Many of these websites (and these are more of a government administration angle) will have links to similar resources and freely available publications. Frankly, there are a great deal of groups and organizations which have an effect on public administration. If you see one that should be included onthis list (or removed from it), please let me know. Surf on into a website that interests you? Please take the time to give it a critcal look.

Top 50 Public Administration Web Resources from Democrablog. July, 2010 list.
American Society for Public Administration. Since 1939 they have "been the nation's most respected society representing all forums in the public service arena".
Association for Public Policy and Management. "APPAM is dedicated to improving public policy and management by fostering excellence in research, analysis, and education." This organization has been around since the late 70s.
International City/County Management Association. Founded in 1914, ICMA (International City/County Management Association) is the premier local government leadership and management organization. Its mission is to create excellence in local governance by advocating and developing the professional management of local government worldwide.
National Academy of Public Administration. "The National Academy of Public Administration is a non-profit, independent coalition of top public management and organizational leaders who tackle the nation’s most critical and complex challenges."
National Association of Counties. Represents the 3000+ counties in the United States. They have collected examples of county codes and ordinances.
National Association of Regional Councils. The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) serves as the national voice for regionalism. NARC advocates for and provides services to its member councils of government (COGs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). At our state level is the Michigan Association of Regions.
National Association of State Budget Officers. For over 60 yeras, NASBO is the instrument through which the states collectively advance state budget practices. As the chief financial advisors to our nation’s governors, NASBO members are active participants in the public policy discussions at the state level. The major functions of the organization consist of research, policy development, education, training, and technical assistance. These are achieved primarily through NASBO’s publications, membership meetings, and training sessions. NASBO is an independent professional and educational association and is also an affiliate of the National Governors’ Association.
National Conference of State Legislatures. The NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. NCSL is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of state governments before Congress and federal agencies.
National Governor's Association. Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association--the bipartisan organization of the nation's governors--promotes visionary state leadership, shares best practices and speaks with a unified voice on national policy.
National League of Cities. The National League of Cities is the oldest and largest national organization representing municipal governments throughout the United States. Its mission is to strengthen and promote cities as centers of opportunity, leadership, and governance.
Partnership for Public Service. The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works.
United Nations Public Administration Network. "A global networking tool that connects relevant international, regional, sub-regional, and national institutions worldwide for the promotion of better public administration."
Urban Land Institute. "As the preeminent, multidisciplinary real estate forum, ULI facilitates the open exchange of ideas, information and experience among local, national and international industry leaders and policy makers dedicated to creating better places."
U.S. Conference of Mayors. A nonpartisan organization that has been promoting the development of effective national urban/suburban policy, the strengthening of federal-city relationships, and ensuring federal policies meets urban needs since the early 1930s.


NMU maintains 4 online guides (available off the library's homepage) for the most common forms of styles. APA style may be the preferred style (ask your instructor!)

For further assistance, contact the Olson Library reference desk (live chat is instantly available from this link) and/or Bruce Sarjeant.

Library Hours
Mon: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Tue: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Wed: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Thu: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sat: 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m.
For exceptions and full year hours