Civics: Supreme Court Pathfinder


Resources for the Civics Supreme Court Paper

General Tips for Research:
  • When watching these videos, feel free to stop and start as you try different databases and different sources–no need to watch the whole video at once!
  • Make sure to read the information below each source about what it’s good for and any tips we have.
  • When you are recording a page or article from a database, DO NOT COPY THE URL. You will NOT be able to get back to your page using that URL. Instead, find where the database allows you to copy the citation or permanent link to the page. If you can’t find that, write down the name of the database and the name of the article or page you are using. 
  • If you have any questions, please sign up to meet with a librarian!
Sign up for a meeting with a librarian:
Meet with Ms. Sokoll
Meet with Ms. Steim
Meet with Ms. Tragert

Introduction to Using this Pathfinder:

Library Databases:

What is a database? Databases are collections of sources created by experts on a topic. The library provides these databases for students as places to find reliable, trustworthy sources.

Databases for Background Research:

ABC-Clio: American Government

  • Good for: Reference articles (background information) and Supreme Court opinions.
  • Tips: try searching for your topic, specific court cases OR search for “[your topic] supreme court”.

Gale eBooks

  • Good for: Background information about your topic or cases.
  • Tips: search for a case name or your topic. Look at the name of the book each result is found in to get a better idea if it’s going to be useful.

Issues & Controversies

  • Good for: Finding expert opinions and background information about controversial topics.
  • Tips: search for your topic and then click on a related Pro/Con Article (you can see the source type right underneath the title). If your case is older (before about 1970-1980), you might want to also search Issues & Controversies in American History.

Databases for In-Depth Research:

Lexis-Nexis

  • Good for: Finding the text of a legal case or a Supreme Court decision.
  • Tips: find a case by entering the case name in the search bar OR find cases on a specific topic by clicking on “Cases” in the Guided Search menu.

Opposing Viewpoints

  • Good for: Finding expert opinions about controversial topics.
  • Tips: to find more Viewpoint (opinion) articles, search for your topic. You can also find some background/reference articles by searching a case name or your topic.

Issues & Controversies

  • Good for: Finding expert opinions and background information about controversial topics.
  • Tips: search for your topic and then click on a related Pro/Con Article (you can see the source type right underneath the title). If your case is older (before about 1970-1980), you might want to also search Issues & Controversies in American History.

SIRS Issues Researcher

  • Good for: Finding expert opinions about controversial topics.
  • Tips: search for your topic to find opinions, articles and more.

Recommended Websites:

These websites are recommended by the librarians for your paper. They are reliable and trustworthy sources. If you would like to use a different website, please make sure to use this worksheet to decide whether it is a good source.

Websites for Background Research:

Oyez

  • Good for: Clear case summaries and audio recordings of some courtroom discussions.
  • Tips: Search for your case in the search bar or use the blue bars on the left to search by topic (choose “Issue” in the first blue bar’s drop-down menu).

Supreme Court Landmarks

  • Good for: Summaries of important Supreme Court cases.
  • Tips: Click on “Learn more about this case.” to see a longer case summary and listen to a short podcast explaining the case.

Website for In-Depth Research:

Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute

  • Good for: Case summaries and analysis.
  • Tips: Search for a case or your topic. Because this site is for law students, the writing can be a little complicated. Please ask your teacher or a librarian for help if you need it.

Citing Your Sources:

You will use Chicago Manual of Style/Turabian format (commonly called Turabian) to format your Works Cited page.