LEGALST 195A/H195A: Legal Studies Honors Thesis

Contact Your Librarian

  • Susan Edwards
  • Office Hours: By appointment
  • Office Location: Education Psychology 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 thesis.

This guide has been archived

Please note: this course guide was created during a previous semester, and is no longer being actively maintained. For a list of current course guides, please see 

Find eBooks Related to Legal Studies

The Library offers over 100 e-book and e-text collections in specific subject areas. E-books in collections marked * are also available through OskiCat and Melvyl. You can limit your search in OskiCat to "Available online," and in Melvyl to "Online resources."

Find Books, Journals, and More

If you are unsure about your topic, use OskiCat (UCB Catalog--Does not include Law) to find reference books.  A reference book will provide a high-level overview and/or background on your topic.


Try your search (you can limit to the above locations once you see results by changing the dropdown menu).

Find Dissertations

Find Dissertations by searching Digital Dissertations, which indexes over 1.5 million dissertations completed in North America (including UC) and European universities from 1861 to the present. Listings after 1980 include abstracts, and some feature 24-page excerpts. 

Full-text Access: Online full-text of UC dissertations (from 1996) can be found by searching Digital Dissertations and also appear in Library catalog search results. UC Berkeley dissertations in print prior to 1996 may be found by searching the Library catalogs. Dissertations done at other UC campuses prior to 1996 or ouside the UC system must be obtained through Interlibrary Loan or using the "Request" option in Melvyl.

You may also limit a search in OskiCat to dissertations by changing the drop down from "Entire Collection" to "Dissertations/Theses":

Dissertations/Theses in Oskicat


Google Books

Why use Google Books? Library catalogs (like OskiCat) don't search inside books; using a library catalog, you can search only information about the book (title, author, Library of Congress subject headings, etc.).  Google Books will let you search inside books, which can be very useful for hard-to-find information.  You can then use Google Books' Find in a Library link to locate the book in a UC Berkeley library, or search OskiCat to see if UC Berkeley owns the book.Try it now:

Google Book Search

Off-campus Access to Library Resources

Before you can access UCB Library resources from off campus or via your laptop or other mobile devices, make sure you have configured your machine using one of two simple methods (Proxy Server is the quickest and easiest):

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 when you click on the link to a licensed resource. See the setup instructions, FAQ, and Troubleshooting pages to configure your browser.  Make sure you check the proxy configuration before you start researching.

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.

Citation Linker

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

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.

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Article Databases

Use these article databases to find information on your research topic.

Finding Citations From an Article or Book

If you have an academic/scholarly book or article and what to see want has cited it, you can.  Use Social Sciences Citation Linker (Web of Knowledge) to find how many times something has been cited.  This can also lead you to other resources for your research projects. can also help you find which books have cited a book you know about.  Scroll down to the bottom of an amazon book page to find the books.  Do not buy the books from Amazon, instead use OskiCat or Melvyl to locate and borrow the book.

How many times an article/book has been cited is also one way to judge it's impact, though keep in mind that a good article/book can be praised as many times as a bad one can be ridiculed. 

Gov Info

These resouces can help you discover and locate information from the government.  More resources can be located in the Library's Government Information pages.

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.

News Resources

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

Google Search Tips, Tricks and Hacks

One of the largest hurdles of using Google is the amount you must weed through.  Some searches result in thousands of pages; who has time to go through all that?  You dont need to.  Did you know you can manipulate a regular Google search with a couple hacks to your search.  Its true!  Try these search "tricks" during your next google search.

You can also combine some of these search hacks, such as adding to remove results from the New York Times website.  More search tricks can be found here.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is an easy way to do interdisciplinary research, and with some settings changes can become even more useful.  You need a Google account to use these features.

Do your search in Google Scholar. Look in the green toolbar for the envelope icon, and click it.  New items will be sent to your email account as they are found by Google.

Open Scholar.  Click on scholar preferences [next to the search box]. Under Library Links, enter the word Berkeley.  Choose up to three database providers we subscribe to: Full Text@IngentaConnect; UC eLinks; and Read article via OCLC.

Do a Google Scholar search. Click on the "Cited by" link under a citation and select the "Search within articles citing..." checkbox.


Librarian Contact in Bancroft
Theresa Salazar, Curator of Western Americana

Introduction to Library Research Using Primary Sources

Bancroft Collections of relevance

The Bancroft Library has substantial holdings related to politics and government in California and the American West. These include all genres and formats including manuscript and archival collections, photographs and other pictorial materials, oral histories, sound recordings and videos, selected Government Documents, pamphlets and ephemera, along with books. The Bancroft Library is the largest special collections on the UCB campus, and includes both primary and secondary resources.

The collections include the papers of politicians such as Senators Alan Cranston, Thomas Kuchel, William Knowland, Hiram Johnson; of Representatives such as Meldon Levine, Robert Matsui, Thomas Lantos; of Governors such as Edmund (Pat). Brown, Culbert Olson, George Pardee, as well as many other local and nationally significant politicians.

We also have substantial holdings related to the law, including the papers of Lawyers: Charles Garry Legal Files, National Lawyer’s Guild Records, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute Collections. There are pictorial materials associated with these collections, including photographs and court room drawings.

The collection also includes the Spanish/Mexican land grant cases for California which were adjudicated after the Mexican American war. These include the maps (or diseños) that were produced as part of the case file.

The Bancroft Library has many collections that relate indirectly to politics and the law including our substantial environmental collections, urban and city planning records, labor related collections, records related to agriculture and other industries in the American West, and many relevant collections.

University Archives are also part of The Bancroft Library. These records include the Office of the President for the University of California and the records of The University of California, Berkeley.

The Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) is a part of The Bancroft Library. They have produced oral histories related to many individuals involved in State government as well as oral histories related to prominent individuals involved with legal issues. The oral histories produced by this office can be accessed online through their website:

Finding Resources in The Bancroft Library

Electronic access -- All formats can be searched on the University of California Berkeley Library’s online catalog Oskicat, The catalog description will include information the creator, extent of collection, subjects, any restrictions as to use, collection specific notes, and also will indicate location of material (onsite, NRLF). More extensive groupings of materials, including manuscripts and pictorial material may have detailed finding aids that will provide more detailed information about the contents of the collection. Patrons can order material online, which will be held at the Bancroft for one week at a time, and can be renewed throughout the semester. See:


California – Politics and Government.
Governors – California.
Legislators – California.
United States – Congress – Senate.
United States – Congress – House of Representatives.
Law—Political aspects – California.
Judges – California.
Freedom of speech.
University of California, Berkeley. Students – Political activity.
Academic freedom.
Loyalty Oath – California.
Legal ethics – California.
Obsenity (Law) – United States.
Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
Japanese Americans --Civil Rights
Water rights – California.
Suffrage – California.

Finding aids -- Because manuscript and archival collections are unique gatherings of materials, a finding aid in the form of an inventory, box list, or other summary of the intellectual organization of the collection is often available to help a researcher determine the contents of the materials. Finding aids provide an overview of how the collection is organized in order to facilitate access. It often will include a biographical or historical note about the creator, and include a scope and content note about what is in the collection, as well as indicate the size of the collection. Most of these are available in-house, but increasingly they are becoming available on the Internet. Access to the finding aid is essential to understanding the true content of a collection and for determining whether it is likely to satisfy a scholar's research needs.


The OAC, part of the California Digital Library (CDL) is a digital information resource that facilitates and provides access to materials such as manuscripts, photographs, and works of art held in libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions across California. The OAC includes a single, searchable database of "finding aids" to primary sources and to their digital facsimiles which are selectively available. Describing primary sources in detail, finding aids are the guides and inventories to collections held in archives, museums, libraries and historical societies. Access to the finding aid is essential for understanding the content of a collection and for determining whether it is likely to satisfy your research needs. OAC home page: 

CALISPHERE, is a website that allows patrons to search for selected images available on the OAC.

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles.  Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but any are easier than doing it by hand!

  1. Zotero: A free plug-in that works exclusively with the Firefox browser: keeps copies of what you find on the web, permits tagging, notation, full text searching of your library of resources, works with Word, and has a free web backup service.
  2. RefWorks - free for UC Berkeley users. It allows you to create your own database by importing references and using them for footnotes and bibliographies. Use the RefWorks New User Form to sign up.
  3. EndNote: may be purchased from UC Berkeley's Software Central.

It's always good to double check the formatting -- sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.


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

"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

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 the Political Science Librarian, Jesse Silva, via email or phone (email is preferred) to ask a question, set up an appointment, or get more help with anything related to the Library and research.  Contact info is below:

Phone: 510-768-7613
g-talk: jsilvaucb

Ask a Librarian 24/7

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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.

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