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NSP: Election Forecasting

Tips and strategies for developing quantitative profiles of a particular election and predicting the results.

What is a search strategy?

Developing a strong search strategy can save you time when it is time to search for resources.  Rather than doing general searching using Google, we recommend that you search using the library databases.  Searching Google is much different than searching library databases.

One facet of database searching that can be difficult to get used to is subject heading or keyword searches.  Rather than typing a question in and expecting instant results, users need to focus on identifying and using controlled language searches.

Identifying controlled language for subject headings and keywords is beneficial for the savvy researcher.  Controlled language is typically assigned by the Library of Congress and is then used universally (or at least in English) by vendors and publishers when identifying main points and ideas for their books, journals and other publications.

Once the controlled language for your topic is identified, database searching is usually much easier. 

Language used on websites by various entities can often be arbitrary and inconsistent.

Searching for News, Research & More

It can be a straightforward process to find all types of information resources depending on your topic.  With the current election, the information is so prevalent, the issue becomes the problem of narrowing down to just the most relevant or interesting information to you!

Here are some subject headings you may want to consider using as you search:

  • public opinion polls
  • elections
  • political candidates
  • presidential candidates
  • election forecasting
  • exit polling (elections)
  • probabilities & statistics
  • probabilities and presidents, elections
  • sampling (statistics)
  • presidential candidates
  • Trump, Donald, 1946-
  • Clinton, Hilary Rodham
  • Johnson, Gary E. (Gary Earl)
  • Stein, Jill, 1950-

It's very important when searching for specific candidates that you find the name/subject heading that is the correct one.  While Trump and Clinton are going to be a little easier to locate the correct names, less well known candidates can be trickier, especially if their name is not as unique, as in the case of Gary Johnson.