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Law & Justice Research Guide

CWU Legal Databases

CWU offers access to numerous legal databases. You can search them through the above link or take a look at some of our top legal databases below..

For most of the twentieth century, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was the principal defender of the rights that citizens can assert against their government. Its primary aims have been the defense of the freedoms of speech and press, the separation of church and state, the free exercise of religion, due process of law, equal protection of the law, and the privacy rights of all citizens. This important collection of papers spans the majority of the twentieth century, from 1912 to 1990. Scholars and students in twentieth-century American social history and politics will find this archive of special interest because of its focus on civil rights, civil liberties, race, gender, and issues relating to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Contains indexes and summaries of international journal articles, books, and governmental and non-governmental reports on virtually any topic in criminal justice. "Criminal Justice Abstracts contains more than 400,000 records selected from the most important sources within the discipline. Subject areas covered include: criminology; criminal justice; criminal law and procedure; corrections and prisons; police and policing; criminal investigation; forensic sciences and investigation; history of crime; substance abuse and addiction; probation and parole."

CQ Researcher is often the first source that librarians recommend when researchers are seeking original, comprehensive reporting and analysis on issues in the news. Founded in 1923 as Editorial Research ReportsCQ Researcher is noted for its award-winning in-depth, unbiased coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the economy. 

Provides full-text access to an extensive collection of modern and historical legal periodicals and monographs including documents on international and foreign jurisdiction, U.S. treaties, U.S Supreme Court, U.S. Attorney General, and more. The format is image-based, presenting the exact page image and complete contents of the original materials.

Legal Collection contains full text for more than 250 of the world's most respected, scholarly law journals. Legal Collection is an authoritative source for information on current issues, studies, thoughts and trends of the legal world.

Nexis Uni™ features more than 15,000 news, business and legal sources from LexisNexis—including U.S. Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1790—with an intuitive interface that offers quick discovery across all content types, personalization features such as Alerts and saved searches and a collaborative workspace with shared folders and annotated documents.

This collection, offered free by HeinOnline, brings together, for the first time, all known legal materials on slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world. This includes every statute passed by every colony and state on slavery, every federal statute dealing with slavery, all reported state and federal cases on slavery and hundreds of pamphlets and books written about slavery—defending it, attacking it or simply analyzing it.

Newspaper Collections


This image below comes from AllSides and is shared here because they have conducted a thorough analysis and method in creating this. To learn more about the graphic you can visit AllSides Media Bias Chart.

SIFT Method

Stop: Before you share a post or a tweet... stop! Ask yourself whether you know and trust the source (author, publisher, publication, or website) of the information . If you don't, use the other steps below to figure out if the source and/or claim/headline/report is trustworthy and factual. Don't read it or share it until you know what it is!

Investigate the Source: Look up information about the source's or author's reputation. Does this person or organization seem to be an expert in the field, a legitimate organization or a reputable media outlet? What does Wikipedia say about this organization or publication? Most major organizations and publications have a Wikipedia page. Wikipedia can often tell you what is the purpose of the organization and any political slant it may have that might color the information it disseminates - double check the sources provided in the Wikipedia page itself.

Find Better Coverage: If you are unable to determine whether a source is reliable or not, take a deeper look at the claim that source is making. Can you find similar coverage of the topic elsewhere? Use google to see if there are other more trusted sources (newspapers, reputable organizations, experts) that corroborate the information. If a story is true, there should be many other high quality, trusted sources covering it.

Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media to the Original Context: Trace the claim/quote/media back to the source so you can see it in its original context and get a sense of whether the version you saw was accurately presented. Check the date. With fast-moving stories such as the Covid-19 pandemic, information changes daily. Click through to the original source post. Does the original story substantiate the claim in the post? Keep in mind that the framing of a story can be deceptive. Click through to the original source post and check. Find the original image. Do a reverse image search on Tineye or Google Images. There may be original context with the image or a more complete version of the image may be available.

Fact Checking Sites
  • Disable Google’s Personalized Search:
    • Click “Settings” on the lower right of the Google search page, and select “Search History” from the menu.
    • Click on “Activity Controls” from the left menu, then uncheck the box next to “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services.”
      • OR simply turn off "Search customization"
  • See most recent, not most relevant results
    • Twitter: select the sparkle icon on the upper right corner and select "See latest Tweets first"
    • Facebook: select the "Menu" icon (three horizontal lines). Scroll to the bottom and select "See more". Select "Recent and favorites" button - you must select this every time you use Facebook.
  • Use search engines/browsers that don't collect your data or personalize your search:
    • Search Engine: DuckDuckGo
    • Browsers: Mozilla Firefox; Brave 

What is OneSearch?

OneSearch is a single search interface that allows patrons to simultaneously search several article databases, catalogs, and other data sources for books, journal articles, videos, scores, maps, and more! This catalog is shared by members of the Orbis Cascade Alliance (Summit), a consortium of 37 academic libraries across Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. OneSearch contains 8.8 million titles and over 26 million resources.

What can it do?

OneSearch offers our users major advantages, such as:

  • Unifying book and journal searches
  • Streamlining Summit and Interlibrary Loan functions within the system
  • Access to millions of articles and reports that were previously unavailable

How to use OneSearch 

Watch the videos below to learn how to conduct searches in OneSearch or learn all there is to know about how to conduct effective searches in CWU's OneSearch Research Guide. If you would like further research assistance, you are also welcomed to schedule an appointment or drop in to meet with a reference librarian. On the left side of this page you'll find the contact information for your Law & Justice liaison librarian, Bridgette, though you are welcome to work with any librarian you prefer.

Evaluating and Citing Sources

Evaluating Sources is as Easy as ABCD (Author, Bias, Content, and Date):

Use the ABCD criteria questions to evaluate your sources.

  • Author: Identify the authors of the source. Are the authors experts and qualified to write on the topic? What are their credentials? Are they affiliated with any organizations or a university? Additionally, consider the publisher or source to make sure the information provided can be considered reputable in regards to your information need.
  • Bias: Identify any bias in the information. Does the information presented cover all sides of the topic in a neutral, objective manner? What is the purpose of this information - to inform, teach, persuade, or sell?
  • Content: Evaluate the content of the document. Is the information provided through a superficial overview or is it a detailed analysis? Is the information relevant to the topic or does it deviate too much? Additionally, focus on the accuracy of the content - does the information match your understanding of the topic and can you verify the claims in other sources?
  • Date: Consider when the information was published, updated, or revised. Has the information become outdated? Additionally, consider the date of the reference list provided - are those sources too old or irrelevant with regard to your chosen topic? 

Evaluating Information: Is it CRAAP (Currency, Relevancy, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose)?

The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Not all criteria apply equally to all articles but will give you confidence that your sources meet the expectations of your assignment. Feel free to save/print this for personal use.

When Evaluating Sources, it Helps to Have a CCOW (Credentials, Claims, Objectives, and Worldview):

If you want to know if a piece of information is good, investigating these four elements can be very helpful. This guide briefly walks you through each CCOW element, and ends with an exercise to put it all into practice.

Print Resources:

Available at Brooks Library, Reference Material.

Online Resources (Purdue Writing Lab):

Requirements for APA and examples of citations are offered in this guide. APA is primarily used in the Social Sciences, Education and Engineering.

Requirements for Chicago style and examples of citations are offered in this guide. Used widely in history and political science; features footnotes or endnotes accompanied by a bibliography

Requirements for MLA and examples of citations are offered in this guide. MLA is the primary citation style used in the Humanities.

Best practices for avoiding plagiarism and frequently asked questions regarding plagiarism are provided in this guide.

Additional Online Resources:

Get citation help from a librarian at CWU Libraries

Basic information for getting started with The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation

Examples provided by the publisher to illustrate how to cite commonly used sources in accordance with The Bluebook's Whitepages, which are intended for use in law review footnotes.

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