The University of Tampa Macdonald-Kelce Library

PSC413 - Politics of War

Use this guide to get started researching military operations. This resource will lead you to a combination of official documents, background on operations from official sources, and help you find peer-reviewed articles.

Research military operations, either national or international, and develop presentations and a Capstone paper (17-22 pages) discussing those operations.  Use a combination of official documents, background on an operation from an official source (for example, something from the Center for Military History), and peer-reviewed articles that they should use to justify their information/stated positions.

Use this guide to quickly locate resources that may be useful.

If you you need help with information sources, chat with a librarian.


Suggested Steps

Use the tabs to the left to navigate this guide.

  • You might find the Introduction to Library Research useful if you've never worked on a research project at the university level.
  • If you need help getting started, finding information, or have a question about resources, contact a librarian.
  • In order to access the library electronic materials (books, journals and databases) log in to MyUTampa.
  • If you need assistance with your Spartans Domain log-in information, please contact the IT Help Desk at StudentHelp@ut.edu or at x6255.

  1. Best Bets - Start with a couple of quick searches of Summon and a subject-specialized database like Proquest to get a feel for the type and quantity of sources available. Play around with the suggested search terms.
  2. Background InformationSometimes you need a definition or basic fact for your paper that you can't find in a scholarly article. Or perhaps you need a more basic understanding of your topic before diving deeper into scholarly research. This is where reference sources, such as encyclopedias, come in handy.
  3. Books - Start here if you're looking for books.
  4. Articles - Start here if you're looking for articles (of any type). Don't forget to try different search terms.
  5. Statistics - Need statistics to back up your argument? Look no further.
  6. Websites - These professional and non-profit websites may prove useful for your research.
  7. Citations - Proper citation is a critical part of the scholarly process.
  8. Not having any luck?

Finding Official Documents

The key official documents for US military operations are listed below. The National Security Strategy out of the White House, and the National Defense Strategy from the Department of Defense are both unclassified. The National Military Strategy from the Joint Chiefs of Staff is classified, and only the summary is publicly available.

Interim National Security Strategic Guidance released March 03, 2021

National Security Strategy released December 2017 (Trump era)

National Security Strategy released February 2015 (Obama era)

Previous National Security Strategies


2018 National Defense Strategy Summary - Department of Defense - unclassified summary


2018 Description of the National Military Strategy - Joint Staff - unclassified summary

Finding Background on an Operation From an Official Source

Official sources are official publications of the branches of the military or government. In the United States this would include the Department of Defense.

Finding Peer-Reviewed Articles

There are some important indicators to look for to see if the article you're looking at is peer-reviewed.

  • many databases will have some information around the actual .pdf of the article that says it is peer-reviewed,
  • the paper itself may say whether it is peer-reviewd, or thank the reviewers in an acknowledgement. (Acknowledgements can be found at the beginning, at the end, or separated from the article in a section at the beginning or end.),
  • almost all peer-reviewed articles will have a page for references (aka citation page or bibliography),
  • most (but not all) academic journals have the word Journal in the title,
  • check the database Ulrich's to see if the journal you're using is peer-reviewed.

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