The materials in the reference room are valuable resources for beginning to structure the basic outline of your topic. Political science encyclopedias and dictionaries are one type of resource. There are many. For an American foreign policy course you might wish to look at sources such as the Dictionary of American Diplomatic History (Findling, 1989) or, at the most general level of political science, you might wish to consult The Encyclopedic Dictionary of American Government (Dushkin, 1991). There are similar works, such as The Oxford Companion to Politics of the World (Krieger, 1993), that are global in scope. Then there are resources such as Editorial Research Reports , the Political Handbook of the World , or the Index to International Public Opinion that deal with particular topics, give summaries of various governments, or take other specialized approaches. Such works are normally acceptable sources; general-purpose encyclopedias (such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica , the World Book , etc.) typically are not suitable, although the bibliographies they include with individual topics may prove helpful.
For an excellent source on English composition, check out this classic book by William Strunk, Jr. on the Elements of Style. Contents include: Elementary Rules of Usage, Elementary Principles of Composition, Words & Expressions Commonly Misused, An Approach to Style with a List of Reminders: Place yourself in the background, Revise and rewrite, Avoid fancy words, Be clear, Do not inject opinion, Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity, … and much more. Details of The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. partially available online at . Note: William Strunk, Jr. (1869–1946). The Elements of Style was first published in 1918.