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Inequality and U.S. Public Policy  

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Selecting a law

The following websites may help you browse as you consider selecting a public law.

You may also consider searching the web or newspapers/news databases for "public law" or "federal legislation" plus words describing a theme or topic area (e.g., "federal legislation" and environment) may help you explore laws in a specific area of interest).

Major resources for your legislative genealogy

The following resources will help you find the full text of the final public law, versions of the bill in progress, sponsors/co-sponsors, votes, summaries of the bills/law, and selected information on support/opposition through hearings and debates.
Enter your law's citation number in the search box without spaces (e.g., 107PL296).

ProQuest Congressional
Use the "Search for legislative histories" link, then search on the exact title of your selected law. Use Google first to determine the exact title, session of Congress, and number of your selected law if you don't already know it.


    Find more on context, support/opposition to the bill


    You may also find searching newspaper articles on the bill useful to connect to current events reporting and public opinion.  The following library databases include good selections of newspaper articles.  These news articles may help you understand support/opposition from/within a variety of groups, such as: Congress, the President, the public, advocacy/lobbying groups, and more. 

    Academic Search Complete
    A database of both scholarly and popular publications in a wide variety of disciplines and subject areas. To limit your results to news articles, check the boxes for newspapers and magazines on the left sidebar of your results list. Most full text is linked directly in the database; otherwise use the Check for Full Text buttons to check for full text online or in the library.

    LexisNexis Academic
    A database of popular newspapers, magazines, and broadcast transcripts, as well as business publications, legal materials, and more. Full text is linked directly in the database.


    Presents daily briefings on a single current topic, as well as recent Gallup Poll findings.

    Polling Report
    Biweekly overview of recent poll trends.

    Public Opinion Quarterly -- "The Polls"
    Location: Online
    Regular feature of preeminent scholarly journal on public opinion and polling, discusses recent surveys.  Browse through each issue to access "The Polls" or search across the journal by topic to check for features on your topic.



    Citing your sources

    • The Chicago manual of style (16th ed., 2010)
      Location: Online or search Encompass Search by title or Ready Reference 808.027 C632m
    • Zotero
      "Free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources." Download instructions and help available on the site.

      Need Help with Your Research?


      Jen Jarson
      Social Sciences Reference Librarian
      phone: 484-664-3552


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