Reference works and handbooks are an important means to help you gather some initial resources, identify concepts, approaches, terminology, and theories, and refine your topic before delving into more detailed research.
What is a literature review?
A literature review provides an overview of the scholarly literature (e.g. books, articles, dissertations, proceedings) relevant to an area of research or theory. The review typically will include a summary of the major questions in a area and critical evaluations of work that has already been done. Literature reviews are also helpful for their comprehensive bibliographies. This webpage by the UC Santa Cruz Library does a good job of explaining lit reviews.
Literature reviews typically include these components:
The following two resources are great places to start when compiling a comprehensive bibliography.
Political Science Complete contains full text for over 450 journals, and indexing and abstracts for nearly 2,100 titles, (including top-ranked scholarly journals). The database also features 330 full-text reference books and monographs, and over 35,000 full-text conference papers. A pro tip is to search for specific methodologies or data sources in your search terms, and fully utilize the filters.