LEGALST R1B: Race and the Law

Contact Your Librarian

  • Jill Woolums
  • Office Hours: 9-5
  • Office Location: Education Psychology Social Welfare Library, 2600 Tolman Hall
  • Contact Info:


About this Guide

This guide contains links and resources that will assist in researching and writing a Legal Studies paper.

Getting Started with Libraries

In addition to the UC Digital Collections and the large Doe Moffitt Library, there are several subject specific libraries on campus.  If your legal studies topic overlaps or intersects with another discipline, such as public health, business, social welfare, psychology, education, ethnic studies, governmental studies, you should consider a visit to the relevant specialty library.  Check the Libraries webpage for links to each specialty library's collections, hours and services.  You will also see links to some of the special collections at Doe Moffitt, and the rich archival and special collections at the Bancroft Library.

Digital collections span the globe.  Fortunately, the web makes it possible to search these collections, although full-text viewing is not always guaranteed (free or otherwise).  Although search engines such as Google may be useful as a start, the best way to search any digital collection is to use the search engine most closely affiliated with the content.  For example, to search the African American/American Memory online collection produced by the Library of Congress, use its native search engine.

How to Narrow Your Topic

"I'm writing a paper on World War II." 

Often students start their research with a very general topic, even though they may realize the topic is too large to deal with in a 10-15 page paper.  Faculty and librarians tell them, "You have to narrow this down."  But how do you narrow a topic?

Thought experiments to try:

You can combine these ideas, "What were the major impacts of WWII on women in France, in the decade after the war?"

Take a look at our brief tutorial on topic selection and narrowing. (Slides 5-9 of the tutorial deal with topic narrowing.)

Books Social Sciences

Books. Search the UC Libraries' catalogs to find both e-books and books in print at UCB. The Oskicat catalog searches the UC Berkeley collection.  Melvyl searches the UC-wide collections.  UC has purchased several e-book collections that can be searched individually. See UCB's e-book collections for links to e-books by publisher/vendor. Each has its own search engine.  Most e-book collections are multi-disciplinary. Use UC's excellent Interlibrary Loan service for anything you can't find.

Find Dissertations

Find Dissertations by searching Dissertations and Theses (Dissertation Abstracts) Full Text, which indexes graduate dissertations from over 1,000 North American, and selected European, graduate schools and universities from 1861 to the present. Dissertations published since 1980 include brief abstracts written by the authors and some feature 24-page excerpts. The database offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and some full text coverage for older graduate works.Also see Find Dissertations and Theses for other specialized sources.

Dissertations completed at UC Berkeley can be found in OskiCat, using the feature allowing you to limit to dissertations/theses.Older dissertations not available full text may be obtained through Interlibrary Loan or using the "Request" option in Melvyl.

Article Databases R1B

To search legal studies in relation to other subjects, such as psychology, social welfare and poverty, business, art history, music, healthcare, consult the subject –based resources on the Library’s Subjects A-Z webpage.    In addition to Doe Library, there are many subject-specific libraries at Berkeley.  You might want to visit one, such as the Education Psychology Library, Social Welfare Library, Public Health Library, Ethnic Studies Library, or Business Library to peruse their collections and/or to consult with a Librarian specialist.

Gov Info

Although much government information can be found via open access government portals online (such as, the UCB Library has purchased additonal resouces for more in-depth and historical reseasrch. In addition to the following resources, be sure to check the Library's Government Information webpages as well as the Government Studies Library website.

Data and Statistics

These links will guide you to various sources for statistics and data.  If you are interested in manipulating a dataset on your own, please visit the Doe Library's Data Lab in 189 Doe.


Researching the law involves discovering judicial cases, statutes and codes, executive orders, congressional hearings, legislative history, administrative regulations and much more.  Although many resources are available via open access online through government and other portals, the UCB Library has purchased several resources that permit more in-depth and historical research.

News Resources

Here are some general news and newsmedia databases.  For a full listing of the Library's news resources, check this list.


What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty, violating the Berkeley Campus Code of Student Conduct. The campus issues a guide to understanding plagiarism, which states:

"Plagiarism means using another's work without giving credit. You must put others' words in quotation marks and cite your source(s). Citation must also be given when using others' ideas, even when those ideas are paraphrased into your own words."

Plagiarism is a serious violation of academic and student conduct rules and is punishable with a failing grade and possibly more severe action. For more information, consult the following UC Berkeley websites:

Citation Help

Citation Management.
Three citation management tools widely used at UC Berkeley are RefWorks, Endnote, and Zotero.  Each organizes citations and produces quick and easy bibliographies in many citation styles, including Chicago Manual of Style.  These tools provide for other common styles also, such as APA 6th, MLA or Turabian.  Learn more about citation and writing tools on the Doe Moffitt Guides webpage or the EDP Library's Citation Management webpage.

RefWorks is free for UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff. From many of UC’s databases, importing citations is seamless and easy.  Create correctly cited bibliographies, footnotes, and in-text citations.  New users can sign up at RefWorks.  Find tutorials and tips for using RefWorks on the EDP Library webpage.

Zotero is a free plug-in that works exclusively with the Firefox browser.  Sign up and view this tool at

EndNote is software that must be purchased.  It’s available from UC Berkeley’s Software Central.  Find tutorals and tips for using EndNote via the Library webpage.

More Information.
Consult the Doe/Moffitt Guides webpage for more help on citation styles and tools.

Citation How To

"Ethics, copyright laws, and courtesy to readers require authors to identify the sources of direct quotations and of any facts or opinions not generally known or easily checked."--
Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press), p. 594

Why cite sources?
Whenever you quote or base your ideas on another person's work, you must document the source you used. Even when you do not quote directly from another work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the authors proper credit.

Citations allow readers to locate and further explore the sources you consulted, show the depth and scope of your research, and give credit to authors for their ideas. Citations provide evidence for your arguments and add credibility to your work by demonstrating that you have sought out and considered a variety of resources. In written academic work, citing sources is standard practice and shows that you are responding to this person, agreeing with that person, and adding something of your own. Think of documenting your sources as providing a trail for your reader to follow to see the research you performed and discover what led you to your original contribution.

Read more

ART Citation Linker

Have a citation? Go directly to the article!  Use Citation Linker.

Get immediate access to journal articles, books and other publications (or request them when they are not available) by entering a title and other citation information.

When a publication is available online: The UC-eLinks window will provide a link to the publisher's web site that should contain the full text of the publication if UC (systemwide or your home campus) subscribes to the electronic version of the publication.

When a publication is not available online: The UC-eLinks window will offer other options such as the ability to check campus library holdings in the Melvyl Catalog (and where you can sometimes find that items ARE available online), or to Request the item via Interlibrary Loan (ILL) if UC (systemwide or your home campus) does not subscribe to the electronic version of the publication.

Research Advisory Service

Research Advisory Service for Cal Undergraduates

Book a 30-minute appointment with a librarian who will help refine and focus research inquiries, identify useful online and print sources, and develop search strategies for humanities and social sciences topics.

Schedule, view, edit or cancel your appointment online (CalNetID required)

This service is for Cal undergraduates only. Graduate students and faculty should contact the library liaison to their department or program for specialized reference consultations.

Ask a Librarian 24/7

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How Do I Make an Appointment?

Thesis research and writing can very specific and a single library session may not provide you with all the information you need.  You are more than welcome to contact a Librarian to ask a question, set up an appointment, or get more help with anything related to the Library and research. 

To schedule a Research Advisory appointment with one of the Librarians specializing in legal studies, political science, education, psychology or social welfare, click HERE or email Jill Woolums directly.

Off Campus Access

You can access UCB Library resources from off campus or via your computer or mobile device using one of two simple methods.

(NOTE: Using EndNote? Use VPN, not the Proxy Server)

Proxy Server
After you make a one-time change in your web browser settings, the proxy server will ask you to log in with a CalNet ID or Library PIN when you click on the link to a licensed resource. See the setup instructions, FAQ, and Troubleshooting pages to configure your browser.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
After you install and run the VPN "client" software on your computer, you can log in with a CalNet ID to establish a secure connection with the campus network

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