We spent 23 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Whether you’re a political science major or simply interested the field, you’re bound to enjoy one of the textbooks on our list. We’ve gathered options to suit people at various levels and inform on a variety of branches, from comprehensive overviews and enlightening introductions, to guides on proper research methodology and more. Each one aims to help students absorb critical information. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.

10. Understanding the Political World

Perfect for those just beginning their introductory courses, Understanding the Political World offers the preliminary information one needs to become acquainted with the discipline. It addresses systems and processes from a global, national, and individual perspective.


  • Color-coded table of contents
  • Excellent for the layperson
  • Occasionally scant on detail















Brand Understanding the Polit
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

9. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies

Evenly paced and peppered with illuminating case studies, quotes, and illustrations, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies makes reading about policy formation a treat rather than a chore. It deftly explores the process of proposal development and how agendas are set.


  • Author details his research methods
  • Epilogue on health care
  • Writing is a bit wordy















Brand Pearson Higher Educatio
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Writing a Research Paper

Students who struggle with the written word will appreciate Writing a Research Paper. This practical guide breaks the reporting process down into manageable parts, and offers a variety of useful worksheets, checklists, and exercises in order to clarify each component.


  • Outlines common pitfalls
  • Helps pupils identify sources
  • Only suitable for beginners















Brand CQ Press
Model pending
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Research in Practice

Research in Practice subverts the typical methods by beginning every chapter with an engaging inquiry designed to spark a student’s curiosity. It uses a thoughtful combination of case studies, analysis, surveys, and more to illustrate why certain procedures are followed.


  • Expansive glossary with key terms
  • A relatively short read at 232 pages
  • Somewhat dense at times















Brand Routledge
Model pending
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. The Oxford Handbook

Although it doesn’t make for light reading, The Oxford Handbook is packed with everything you’ll ever need when it comes to the main branches of the field. This plentiful resource is meant to serve as a trusted reference to consult during university and well beyond.


  • Divided into digestible sections
  • Thorough and edifying introduction
  • Copious footnotes can be distracting















Brand The Oxford Handbook
Model pending
Weight 4.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Policy Paradox

By juxtaposing the rational approach with personal and community values, Policy Paradox explores the catalysts behind political decision making and provides a fresh perspective on its process. Author Deborah Stone uses colorful metaphors to illustrate key concepts.


  • Free of unnecessary jargon
  • Challenges embedded assumptions
  • Somewhat biased toward the left















Brand Policy Paradox
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Essentials of Comparative Politics

Updated to include relevant events like Brexit, in addition to the violent effects of terrorist groups such as ISIS, Essentials of Comparative Politics weighs in on everything from the rise and fall of communism to democratic regimes in a simple, comprehensive manner.


  • Provides historical insight
  • Contains handy learning objectives
  • Reinforces key concepts throughout















Brand Essentials of Comparati
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Analyzing Politics

An excellent introduction to the field, Analyzing Politics uses a case study approach to get to the root of each subject. Clearly written, it touches on concepts such as feminism and environmentalism, providing ample opportunity for thoughtful classroom discussions.


  • Compares different democracies
  • Relevant and engaging visuals
  • Informative and neutral tone















Brand Analyzing Politics
Model pending
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Keeping the Republic

Keeping the Republic considers some of the densest topics in politics without overwhelming. It effortlessly moves through modern subjects like hashtag activism and internet regulation to fundamentals such as voting rights, leaving students with a crucial understanding.


  • Encourages critical thinking
  • Breezy and engaging writing style
  • Helpful reviews after each chapter















Brand Keeping the Republic
Model pending
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0