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Handbooks are a great place to start for summaries on what is known within a specific topic. Also, find citations of major related work. This is a Library Search for all books in the series, including the topics of political theory, economy, communications, institutions, and international relations.
Look for the search box in the upper right corner to find articles that cover the state of the research, with citations to major literature. These are great for understanding the state of the literature, and can include critique of methodology and future directions for research.