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PLS 2070: Introduction to Public Law

This guide has links to library and information resources for your course assignment(s).

Research Tips

Need help distinguishing scholarly from popular resources? Use the links below to help you break down the characteristics scholarly and popular sources. 

While looking information sources, you will need to determine whether the source is useful to your research. Scan your information source (book, article, website, etc.) and your mind through CSU Chico's CRAAP test. Read what Chico has to say:

“When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it . . . but is it good information? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.”

Video via OER Commons by Kallie Gay

Using OneSearch (the online catalogue) you can use the filters on the left hand side to refine your search results. You can use the filters to look for items by type (articles, books, book chapters, etc.), creation date, subject, location, etc. In the example below you will see how you can find peer reviewed articles..

You can start doing a keyword search in OneSearch:

keyword search for "American Elections"

You can use the filters on the left hand side to narrow your search results to "Peer-reviewed Journals." I also checked "Full-text online" to find materials only listed online. Then click "Apply Filters."

Peer Reviewed Journals and Full-text online filter options are checked off

The results will regenerate and provide you with peer-reviewed material. Another easy way of seeing if an article is from peer-reviewed journal is by the purple icon listed under the article title and author. NOTE: Just because an article is in a peer-reviewed journal, does not automatically mean it is peer-reviewed. It may be a book review or an editorial, which is not a peer-reviewed article. The symbol simply means that the article is from a peer reviewed journal. 

Peer Reviewed journal results with a tiny purple book icon

Boolean operators are a set of terms that can be used to help with your searches. They can be used in most online catalogues, databases, search engines, etc. The most commonly used Boolean operators are AND, OR and NOT*.

*Boolean operators must be capitalized in order to work properly. 

To narrow your search, use AND or NOT


  • politics AND media  - items that contain both "politics" and "media" will be in your search results list

  • voting NOT United States - items that contain the word "voting" will be in your search list, except for those that contain "United States" 

To expand your search, use OR:


  • president OR congress -  items that contain the word "president" or "congress" will be in your search list


Types of legal resources

Primary sources (case law, statutes, regulations) state the law, whereas secondary sources help you understand the law. These materials discuss and analyze the law, but are not the law itself. Secondary sources come in the following forms:

  • law journals and reviews
  • legal encyclopedias
  • treatises
  • American Law Reports (ALR)


Legal Resources