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FYS 161 How to Buy an Election: Corruption, Clientelism, and Vote Buying - Centre Term 2020: Biographies

Finding information for your biography

When researching for biographical information, you almost always should start with reference materials, such as encyclopedias. Centre has both online and print encyclopedias. These are mainly useful for very prominent figures in a field. For more locally prominent figures, such as your "bosses," finding reliable biographical information may require more research. Some strategies to try are:

  • Google your boss's name and, in the results, look for state or city historical sites. Websites that end in .edu, .org, .gov or .us are the most reliable.
  • Search the library catalog using the person's name as a subject term to find books that mention them.
  • Look in newspapers for articles or obituaries. is a good resource for this strategy.

ProTip: Start by reading online articles about your boss. While reading, note other important figures and events associated with your boss. Then research those people and events separately. This will help you expand your knowledge.

Here are some reliable sources for the "bosses" you are researching in this class:

Albert Alonzo Ames (Minneapolis)

Minnesota Legislative Reference Library


Col. Ed Butler (St. Louis)

What about Wikipedia? You probably already know why some professors do not accept Wikipedia articles as a source: anyone can write or edit them, so they are not necessarily reliable. Also, students tend to not research beyond Wikipedia. Consulting multiple sources is always important. It allows you to make sure your information is complete and reliable.

ProTip: Even if your professor does not accept Wikipedia, you can often use the citations at the end of Wikipedia articles to find information that is acceptable.


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Karoline Manny
Karoline Manny
600 West Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422