UCB Libraries


Resources for WRTG 3020: Conversations on the Law

Guide to resources for Kathryn Pieplow’s Moot Court assignment on public policy issues.


  • Starting
    Your Research
  • Finding
  • Finding
  • Citing
    Your Work
  • Additional

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

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 at our guides to Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Biographies and more in the How Do I website.


Also take a look at the following electronic reference resources:


How do I?


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:

  1. 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.
  2. Titles may have different locations in the CU library system, for example, Norlin Stacks, PASCAL offsite, or Norlin Library Periodicals Collection. If you are wondering where these locations are, click on the location link.
  1. You can use the "Request It!" button to:

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, use the Find Articles link. Databases are grouped by subject (e.g. History) and provide recommendations for  databases to search. For legal information try the subject Law or Political Science.  You might also try searching one of the broad topics like Society, Politics, Environment


American Government and Policy Resources


  • 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.
  • 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.


Sources for Information on the Law



  • 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.


      Federal and State Cases Full-text judicial opinions from all federal, state and US territories’ courts


      Federal and state laws and regulations 


      Legal reference Legal dictionaries and encyclopedias. 



  • 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.

Interdisciplinary Research


  • Academic Search Premier CU
    A multi-disciplinary database which provides full text journal coverage for nearly all academic areas of study  Most articles are available online.  
    This database provides full-text access to articles from scholarly journals 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.



Zotero is an open source tool that works with Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Your folders of citations exist on your computer, and you can back them up to the internet cloud. It quickly creates bibliographies and formats papers in many citations styles. Here are some resources to help you use Zotero:



Additional Resources

  • Citing Sources
    This guide goes over the various formats you can use to cite materials. It also provides links to quick citation sheets.
  • Find Government Information
  • This page has a tab with information on citing government resources. See the sections titled Laws and Federal Regulations or Court Decisions for helpful external links



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
about the library and finding sources


Chat reference is available when the window appears below:


We are always happy to answer questions or set up appointments to have a more in-depth discussion of your research.


Leanne Walther                                             govpubs@colorado.edu