Resources for WRTG 3020: Conversations on the Law
Guide to resources for Kathryn Pieplow’s Moot Court assignment on public policy issues.
- Before starting your search, break down your topic into discrete concepts that represent its major aspects. These concepts will be used to develop search terms, that is, significant words or phrases (nouns or noun phrases work best) that can be used when searching in online catalogs or research databases. Your search terms will determine the quantity and relevance of results you retrieve.
- For more flexible searching, think of various ways to express these search terms:
- synonyms (related terms)
- broader terms
- narrower terms
The Search Strategy Worksheet can be quite useful in helping you develop search terms for your topic.
- Tailor the search terms to the type of material you are searching. When searching for:
- Books and other larger units, broader terms tend to work better because the topics covered by books tend to be more general.
- Journal articles and other smaller units, narrower terms tend to work better because the topics covered by articles tend to be more specific.
- Full text of books or articles, narrower terms or even unique terms like names or places tend to work better because you are searching on the full text.
- Adding terms that represent geographical or chronological facets may be useful.
- If you get too many results, try using narrower search terms or add another concept to your search. If you get too few results, try using broader terms, synonyms or subtract a concept from your search.
- Avoid using redundant or overlapping search terms, like law AND legislation. This is a common reason for getting too few results.
How to Combine Search Terms and Use Punctuation
- AND: taxation AND revolution AND colonies (must find all terms)
- OR: revolution OR rebellion (must find one of the terms)
- NOT: Massachusetts NOT Boston (must find first term NOT second term)
- Phrases: “Stamp Act” (must find that phrase in that order)
- Synonyms: (revolution OR rebellion) AND taxation
- Truncation and wildcards:
revolution* will find revolution, revolutions and revolutionary
wom?n will find woman and women
Reference resources can be a great place to start when you are developing a new topic. They can provide you with an overview and background information, summarize established knowledge and important facts, discuss key figures, and offer a list of recommended sources or readings.
This selection of electronic reference resources is intended to give you an idea how useful they can be. Many more, ranging from the general to the specific, are available to you in print and electronic form and may be found by looking under the heading Encyclopedias and Reference Works in Find Articles & More.
- Reference Universe
- Gale Reference Library
Finding Secondary Sources in the CU Libraries Collections
You can locate secondary sources for your research in the CU Libraries by searching the Chinook Library Catalog. Chinook is where you want to search for books, journals, microforms and other materials but not articles.
The Advanced Keyword search in Chinook Classic is the most flexible way to search for titles on your topic. Notice that you can specify available items, electronic version, language, location, and material type, among other limits.
Chinook Classic Search Tips
The following tips will help you make the most of your Chinook Classic searching:
- From the full record of a relevant title, you can find similar titles by:
- Looking at the Subjects listed and clicking on the links to find other titles in the catalog with the same subject heading.
- Clicking on the "Nearby Call Numbers" button. This will allow you to virtually browse the collection by showing you what other titles would be shelved next to that one.
- You can use the "Request It!" button to:
- Request materials from PASCAL, the Libraries' offsite storage facility
- Recall materials that are currently checked out
- Have a book paged and held for you at a CU library of your choice
- You will receive an email when the materials are available
- Requesting electronic copies:
- You can order an electronic copy of a book chapter in a book we own through ILLiad.
- You can order an electronic copy of an article in a print journal we own by clicking on the "Request a PDF (UCB only)" button in the record for the print journal (sample record).
You can make requests for any item we do not hold through ILL. Visit this page for your basic ILL options. Please note the decision to loan items is up to the holding library. How much time it takes to fill the request can range from 24 hours to 3 weeks, depending. Articles and book chapters are generally faster than books.
The ILLiad interlibrary loan system is used to make requests:
- Log in using your Identikey, and submit the required information. Also, the more of the non-required information you can provide the easier it will be to expedite your request.
- The first time you log in you will need to fill out your contact information.
- If you enter ILLiad from a database like America: History and Life, it will often supply most of the required information automatically.
- Specify a realistic "Not Wanted After Date". If you order an item and do not use it, the Libraries will have to pay for the loan anyway.
Finding Articles in Library Databases:
To find articles in journals, first select a database. To find a list of databases, ose the Find Articles and More link. Databases are grouped by subject (e.g. History) and provide lists of databases. For legal information try the subject Law and Legislation or Government. You might also try looking in the more general databases listed under the topic: General and Interdisciplinary.
American Government and Policy Resources
- CQ Press Electronic Library CU
This database is an important resource for researching American government, politics, history, public policy, and current affairs. Some of the useful tools included in this collection are:
- CQ Researcher Each Researcher essay is a single-themed, 12,000-word report written by an experienced journalist and vetted by editorial staff. The essays all contain overviews and background; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; and pro/con statements.
- Guide to the US Supreme Court Includes background information on the court and summaries of major issues decided by the court
- CQ Weekly CQ Weekly is a comprehensive review of Capitol Hill activity from the previous week.
- Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports CU
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is the research arm of Congress. CRS reports are short (usually) background briefs prepared for members of Congress on any issue that is a topic of discussion. They are well researched, non-partisan, and include bibliographies that lead to more information.
- ProQuest Congressional CU
Want access to Congressional publications such as reports, hearings, debates and documents? Use this database for full-text access. There’s also a link out to Legislative Insight, a legislative history database for federal laws.
- Academic Search Premier CU
A multi-disciplinary database which provides full text journal coverage for nearly all academic areas of study - including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies. Most articles are available online.
- JSTOR CU
This database provides full-text access to articles from scholarly journals in history, economics, political science, demography, mathematics and other fields in the humanities and social sciences. Coverage starts with Vol. 1, No. 1 of all titles, and goes up to 3 to 5 years ago.
- PAIS International CU
Database covering global public policy and social issues including health, finance, economics, education, technology, and the environment for the U.S. and abroad. Covers periodicals, books, hearings, reports, gray literature, government publications, Internet resources, and other publications from 120 countries. Contains more than 1.5 million records dating back to 1915, each with bibliographic information and brief, descriptive abstracts. Includes materials in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish with English language abstracts.
Sources for Information on the Law
- Lexis/Nexis Academic CU Extensive coverage of news, legal and business information.
- US Legal Access to primary and secondary legal sources.
- Law reviews Law review articles are great sources of information. Not only do they provide scholarly analysis of legal issues, they also contain extensive footnotes to “primary” sources like cases, laws and regulations. Coverage: full text access back to early 1980s.
- Supreme Court briefs The U.S. Supreme Court requires that each party submit a brief which contains the substance of all the pleadings, facts and documents on which the party will rely, as well as the points of law intended to be presented at the oral argument. Amicus curiae (or Amicus) briefs are written essays filed with the court by someone who is not a party to the action but who has strong views or interests. Literally means “friend of the court”.
- Legal reference Use this link to find legal dictionaries and encyclopedias.
- American Jurisprudence 2d, a legal encyclopedia, is a helpful place to find information on legal issues with citations to relevant laws and cases.
- Hein Online CU
A comprehensive database that provides access to legal materials, law review articles and legal journals. Law review coverage goes back to the first issue of every law review included and articles are full-text online.
- RefWorks CU
RefWorks is a database that lets you save your citations and then format them in the style of your choice. Check out this quick guide for help using this resource.
- Citing Sources
This guide goes over the various formats you can use to cite materials. It also provides links to quick citation sheets.
Research and Subject Guides Database
You can find information on how to start your research, how to use databases and how to cite material. Either click on the box for a specific type of guide and then browse among lists of research guides, or do a keyword search (by topic, course, citation style, etc.).
How Do I pages
FAQs about the library and finding sources
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We are always happy to answer questions or set up appointments to have a more in-depth discussion of your research.