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).
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
WITH NEWS ARTICLES
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.
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.
WITH PUBLIC OPINION DATA
Presents daily briefings on a single current topic, as well as recent Gallup Poll findings.
Biweekly overview of recent poll trends.
Public Opinion Quarterly -- "The Polls"
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.
WITH LOBBYING AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE INFORMATION
- Federal Election Commission
- Influence and Lobbying(OpenSecrets.org)
- Political MoneyLine (CQ Roll Call)
Citing your sources
- For information on why to cite your sources and how to avoid plagiarism, see the Get Started with Library Research: Cite Sources guide.
- For help using Chicago style, consult the following resources::
- The Chicago manual of style (16th ed., 2010)
Location: Online or search Encompass Search by title or Ready Reference 808.027 C632m
- Chicago Manual of Style (Purdue Online Writing Lab)
- Chicago Style (Trexler Library, Muhlenberg College)
- Chicago/Turabian Documentation Style (Writing Center, University of Wisconsin--Madison)
"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?
Social Sciences Reference Librarian