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POSC 437: Mass Media and Politics

Research guide for students enrolled in POSC 437.



This guide is intended to help students enrolled in Dr. Ann Crigler's POSC 437 course conduct research using USC Libraries' resources and services.

Subject Guide

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Robert V. Labaree
Dr. Robert V. Labaree
Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow Center, International and Public Affairs Library
Room 38A

The USC Libraries

Overview of Home Page

Library Services

Other libraries besides the International and Public Affairs Library you may need to use

The Literature Review

Background Information and Identifying an Issue

Obtaining a broad overview or background information from books, government documents, and other materials about your topic can be found using the USC Libraries catalog.

The following databases can help you search for literature that identifies and describes national, state, or local political topics.

  • CQ Researcher -- in-depth, unbiased coverage of the political and public policy aspects of healthcare, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, the economy, and much more. Reports are published 44 times a year.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Multidisciplinary Databases

These databases provide multidisciplinary coverage of resources.

  • JSTOR -- an multidisciplinary archive of scholarly, full-text social science, humanities, and science journals. Note that contents are a good source of historical research but does not cover current journal literature.
  • ProQuest -- multidisciplinary database that simultaneously searches thousands of general and scholarly titles, and provides full-text for a significant number of the articles, included from a variety of contemporary research databases. Contents are updated daily.
  • Google Scholar -- useful resource for identifying who has cited a particular work. Go here for directions about how to set up Google Scholar to link to materials we own or subscribe to electronically.

NOTE: A useful strategy to expand the scope of articles you find on your topic is to paste the title of a relevant article you find in a database, such as JSTOR or ProQuest Multiple, into Google Scholar [link to Google Scholar from the USC Libraries’ main web page by scrolling down under Database Quick Links]. If the article appears in Google Scholar, look to see if anyone else has subsequently cited that article in their research by clicking on the “Cited by” link [e.g., "Cited by 45"]. The number indicates other research studies that have cited the original article you found. This is an excellent way to find related, more recent research on your topic.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Discipline-Specific Databases

These are discipline-specific databases that provide access to scholarly research resources. Search these databases to discover additional research related to the topic being studied in relation to media coverage and bias.


Relevant databases to understand the impact of policies on particular groups and how the media covers them.

  • AgeLine – provides aging-related research content from the health sciences, psychology, sociology, social work, economics, and public policy, and indexes journals, books, book chapters, reports, dissertations, consumer guides, and educational videos from 1978 to the present.
  • Chicano Database -- bibliographic index focuses on the Mexican-American and Chicano experience, and the broader Latino experience of Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and Central American immigrants since 1992. Covers Chicano/a art, education, folklore, health. history, labor, language and literature, music, politics, public policy, religion, sociology, and women's studies.
  • Ethnic NewsWatch -- includes current and archival coverage of newspapers, magazines and journals from ethnic and minority presses. Very important database for gaining a perspective and an understanding of civic engagement from underrepresented groups and minorities.
  • GenderWatch -- a full-text database that focus on the impact of gender across a broad spectrum of subject areas. Publications include academic and scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books, booklets and pamphlets, conference proceedings, and government, NGO and special reports.
  • LGBT Life -- the premier resource to the world's literature regarding Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Transsexual issues with coverage that includes traditional academic, lifestyle, and regional publications, as well as non-periodical content such as non-fiction books, bibliographies and dissertations.


Key databases covering research in the fields of journalism and communication studies as well as the use of language

  • Communication Source -- a comprehensive source of communication-related journal articles, research reports, working papers, and books from a variety of publishers, research institutions, and information centers. Includes not only communication literature but also literature in other disciplines that is relevant to communication researchers.
  • Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts -- accesses the international literature in linguistics and all aspects of the study of language, including descriptive, historical, comparative, theoretical, and geographical linguistics. Important database to understanding the use of language in communicating policy.


Resources to search for any coverage of topics related to the environment.

  • Environment Index -- comprehensive database with coverage in applicable areas of ecology, natural resources Management, environmental law, public policy, social impact analysis, urban planning, and more from 1973 to the present.
  • Pollution Abstracts -- combines information on scientific research and government policies from scholarly journals, conference proceedings, and technical reports. Topics of growing concern are extensively covered from the standpoints of effects on people and animals and environmental action in response to global and national pollution issues.
  • Water Resources Abstracts -- provides summaries of the world's technical, scientific, and public policy literature on water-related topics covering the characteristics, conservation, control, pollution, treatment, use, and management of water resources as well as legal aspects of water supply, use, control, and management.


Key database to understand ethical issues related to policy issues.

  • Philosopher's Index -- indexes and abstracts articles from over 500 English and foreign language philosophy journals.


Database to search to find how historians have understood and analyzed an issue of concern.

  • America: History and Life -- database that covers the history of the United States and Canada. It includes key English-language historic journals, selected historic journals from major countries, state and local history journals, and selected indexing of relevant journals in the social sciences and humanities.


Databases to search to find research on the impacts of issues such as immigration, school reform, and similar topics in society.

  • Child Development and Adolescent Studies -- citations to social and behavioral sciences literature related to growth and development of children though the age of 21, including book reviews, abstracts from hundreds of journals, books, book chapters, and theses and dissertations.
  • Family Studies Abstracts -- database includes records covering essential areas related to family studies, including marriage, divorce, family therapy, and other areas of key relevance to the discipline.
  • Social Services Abstracts -- coverage of research focused on social work, human support services, and related areas, including social welfare, social policy, and community development, evaluation research, policy planning and forecasting, support groups/networks, and welfare services.
  • Sociological Abstracts -- database for locating articles in the field of sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences obtained from more than 1,800 international journals and other research publications.


Databases for locating studies on policy-making and politics.

  • Policy File Index -- provides full-text access to U.S. foreign and domestic policy papers and gray literature published by a wide variety of think tanks, research institutes, and agencies. PolicyFile is updated weekly with abstracts and links to the latest reports, papers, and documents.
  • Public Administration Abstracts -- provides information on public administration-related publications worldwide covering such areas as administration and economy, administration and politics, administration and society, administrative structures and organization, public and social services, public service personnel, and theory and method.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts -- indexes international journal literature in political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration and policy. Over 1,700 titles are monitored for coverage and, of these, 67% are published outside of the United States.


Comprehensive database of research concerning psychological issues related to issues such as media manipulation and how people understand information.

  • PsycInfo -- database with more than three million records devoted to scholarly literature of journal articles, chapters, books, dissertations, and research reports in psychology and the behavioral sciences.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Media Coverage

Media Coverage

These databases can help you identify topics to investigate as well as help you assess how the media has covered a particular policy issue.

  • Access World News -- comprehensive news collection for exploring issues and events at the local, regional, national, and international level. Source types include print and online-only newspapers, blogs, newswires, journals, broadcast transcripts, and videos. Key database for locating coverage of issues in small, local newspapers and from transcripts of local television broadcasts.
  • Factiva -- full-text database of legal, business, and news resources, that also provides access to transcripts of programs from CBS, BBC, CNN, ABC, CNBC, FOX, NPR and more. For a complete list, click the drop-down arrow next to All Sources. Then from the drop-down next to "Select Source Category" choose "by Type." Last, click the expanding + boxes to select the transcripts you want to search. Search all transcripts by clicking on Transcripts - All. Search individual or a few transcripts by clicking on the individual titles to add them to your search.
  • Nexis Uni [LEXIS/NEXIS Academic]-- full-text database of legal, business, and news resources that includes access to broadcast transcripts. Steps to follow: click on "advanced search"; enter a search term; choose the date range [.g., date is between]; click search. In the left-hand column of options, click on Publication type and click on news transcripts; click on Sources then "select multiple." A window will pop up that allows you to choose a specific network. Click on the record to view the transcript.
  • ProQuest Global Breaking Newswires -- news product providing timely access to the best newswire content available from around the globe.
  • ProQuest Newsstream -- provides access to the full-text of over 1,300 newspapers, news websites, and blogs from leading publishers throughout the world. Archives go back to the late 1970's for some newspapers. Similar to Access World News but not quite as comprehensive.

Listed below are full-text databases for selected national newspapers:

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Television and Radio Archival Sites

Listed below are resources for finding and viewing archived video news clips or radio broadcast news.

  • Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository -- select broadcast quality media that Al Jazeera has released under various Creative Commons licenses.
  • AP Archive YouTube Channel -- the contains film and video archive of The Associated Press, offering global news and entertainment video stories dating back to 1895. New content is added daily.
  • C-SPAN Video Library -- C-SPAN programs since 1987, covering Congressional proceedings. Many programs aired since 2003 have searchable text transcripts of the program’s closed captioning.
  • Internet Archive TV News -- captured video of television broadcasts, from June 2009 to current. It covers news and current event programs from over 20 U.S. networks, including Spanish language networks.  Local news coverage from a number major market network affiliates is also available in this archive. Users can search by date, network, and show using keywords. Videos appear in one minute segments. Commercials are included and political ads is a search limiter. The archive is updated with new broadcasts 24 hours after they are aired.
  • KTLA Newsfilm Collection -- selected clips from Los Angeles station KTLA covering newsworthy events from 1958 to 1981 archived by UCLA's Film and Television Archive Project.
  • UCLA Library Broadcast NewsScape -- digitized television news programs from cable and broadcast sources in the Los Angeles area (2005-present) as well as news programs from other domestic, international, and online sources (2004-present). Includes both streaming media and searchable closed caption text. Use the old interface to search for time-stamped transcript files. Go to Advanced Search to have more options for creating your search strategy.
  • Vanderbilt Television News Archive -- television news archive that provides access to evening news broadcasts from ABC, CBS, and NBC since 1968 and an hour per day of CNN (since 1995) and Fox News (since 2004). Broadcasts from CNN and NBC can be streamed.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.


Analyzing News Coverage


Listed below are organizations and online resources devoted to analyzing television news and investigating bias in the media.

  • Accuracy in Media -- a non-profit watchdog group with critiques inaccurate news reports. The organization encourages members of the media to report the news fairly and objectively—without resorting to bias or partisanship.
  • AllSides -- an organization devoted to exposing bias and provides multiple angles on the same story so you can quickly get the full picture, not just one slant.
  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications -- an organization that promotes the highest possible standards for journalism and mass communication education.
  • Center for Media and Public Affairs -- a non-partisan organization that performs scientific studies of news and entertainment media. They "study the important role the media plays in communicating information about health risks and scientific issues." They provide an "empirical basis for debates over media fairness and impact through well documented, timely, and readable studies of media content.
  • Center for News Literacy -- a curriculum developed at Stony Brook University in New York over the past decade designed to help students develop critical thinking skills in order to judge the reliability and credibility of information, whether it comes via print, television, or the Internet.
  • Emergent -- a real-time rumor tracker. It's part of a research project with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University that focuses on how unverified information and rumor are reported in the media. It aims to develop best practices for debunking misinformation.
  • Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) -- a national progressive media watch group, has been offering criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986 by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints..
  • First Draft News -- offers quick reference resources, case studies, and best practice recommendations intended to improve skills and standards in the reporting and sharing of information that emerges online. First Draft formed as a nonprofit coalition to raise awareness and address challenges relating to trust and truth in the digital age.
  • Global Database of Events, Language and Tone [GDELT] Project  -- monitors the world's broadcast, print, and web news from nearly every corner of every country in over 100 languages and identifies the people, locations, organizations, counts, themes, sources, and events driving our global society every second of every day, creating a free open platform for computing on the entire world. GDELT has two main databases: the Event Database and the Global Knowledge Graph (GKG). The Event Database records individual events, aggregating data from many different news articles.The GKG records individual news articles, extracting detailed information on every person, location, number and theme mentioned in an article.
  • Media Manipulation Casebook -- a digital research platform linking together theory, methods, and practice for mapping media manipulation and disinformation campaigns. This resource is intended to help researchers learn about detecting, documenting, describing, and debunking misinformation and the threats of media manipulation and disinformation to democracy, public health, and security.
  • The National Communication Association -- a not-for-profit organization that promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems.
  • Nieman Journalism Lab -- supported by Harvard University, this center offers fellowships, awards, and events that explores the future of journalism in the Internet age. Its initiatives include the Nieman Reports, Nieman Lab, and Nieman Storyboard.
  • Pew Research Center State of the News Media -- an independent, non-partisan public opinion research organization that studies attitudes toward politics, the press and public policy issues. The site contains links to the Center's survey data.
  • Poynter -- a non-profit journalism school based in St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition to offering free training to journalists and journalism students through its News University, Poynter offers articles on media analysis on its main site.
  • Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project -- the project’s mission is to deliver high-quality research on issues concerning the state of news and information in a changing society.
  • PunditFact -- a project of the Tampa Bay Times and Poynter dedicated to checking the accuracy of claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers, political analysts, the hosts and guests of talk shows, and other members of the media.
  • Society of Professional Journalists -- this organization is dedicated to the idea of a free press as the "cornerstone of our nation and our liberty." Their mission is to improve and protect journalism in America.
  • Television News Archive/Television Explorer -- allows you to keyword search the closed captioning streams of the Archive's six years of American television news and explore macro-level trends in how America's television news is shaping the conversation around key societal issues.
  • Verification Handbook -- a new resource for journalists and aid responders, which provides step-by-step guidelines for using user-generated content (UGC) during emergencies. The Handbook prescribes best practice advice on how to verify and use this information provided by the crowd, as well as actionable advice to facilitate disaster preparedness in newsrooms.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Public Opinion Polling

Polling Resources

  • American National Election Studies -- ANES conducts national surveys of the American electorate in election years and, as a result, produces data on voting, public opinion, and political participation.
  • ARDA: American Religion Data Archive -- a collection of more than 500 surveys, polls, and other data files on American religion with some international coverage.
  • The Harris Poll -- site allows you to search public opinion data spanning a wide array of social issues dating back to The Harris Poll's inception in 1963.
  • ICPSR -- archive of social science data covering a range of subject areas including population, economics, education, health, social and political behavior, crime, aging, and substance abuse. Note that USC users will need to create an account from on-campus to download data.
  • Kaiser Family Foundation Polls -- the Foundation runs the largest public opinion research program in health and undertakes original research on the public’s attitudes towards health and social policy issues.
  • Marist Institute for Public Opinion -- a survey research center founded in 1978 that conducts the Marist Poll that regularly measures public opinion at the local, state, and national level.
  • NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School Polls -- provides access to a variety of survey data produced by National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
  • Pew Hispanic Center -- a nonpartisan research organization that seeks to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the nation. Site includes datasets from each of its surveys.
  • Pew Research Center -- an independent, non-partisan public opinion research organization that studies attitudes toward politics, the press and public policy issues. The site contains links to the Center's survey data.
  • Public Agenda -- a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization that conducts opinion research on a variety of public policy issues.
  • Rasmussen Reports -- an organization that specializes in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information. It also maintains an active news organization, staffed with an editorial team that generates a daily cycle of reports based on the organization’s original survey results.
  • Roper iPoll -- provided by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University, Roper iPoll is the largest collection of public opinion poll data with results from 1935 to the present. The database contains nearly 800,000 questions and over 23,000 data sets from both U.S. and international polling firms. Surveys cover any number of topics including, social issues, politics, pop culture, international affairs, science, the environment, and much more. When available, results charts, demographic cross tabs and full data sets are provided for immediate download.

Polling Aggregators

  • FiveThirtyEight -- a polling aggregator and news analysis site, FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratings are calculated by analyzing the historical accuracy of each firm’s polls along with its methodology. Accuracy scores are adjusted for the type of election polled, the poll’s sample size, the performance of other polls surveying the same race, and other factors. We also calculate measures of statistical bias in the polls. Site includes data on polling averages for presidential primary (1980-2020) and presidential general elections (1980-2020).
  • Polling -- describing itself as an independent, nonpartisan resource on trends in American public opinion, this commercial site contains a lot of ads, but it can be a useful resource because it arranges polls by issue gleaned from a variety of organizations; it allows you to examine all recent polling data on voting, health care, climate change, and so forth in one place.
  • Real Clear Politics -- founded in 2000, Real Clear provides data encompassing 14 specialty areas of coverage. The site includes a link to the latest polling data aggregated from a variety of sources as well as polling data covering Generic Congressional Vote Polling Data, direction of the country, favorability ratings of political leaders, Congressional and Presidential job approval polling, and election polls. Click on "Quick Poll/Map Links" at top to see listings archived back to 2004.

News Polls

The National Council on Public Polls

This is an association of polling organizations established in 1969. Its mission is to set the highest professional standards for public opinion pollsters, and to advance the understanding, among politicians, the media and general public, of how polls are conducted and how to interpret poll results. NCPP  does  not  pass  judgment  on  specific  polls,  polling  methods,  or  polling  entities  but  rather  advocates that polling organizations whose results reside in the public realm disclose pertinent information about how their surveys are conducted.

The site includes this list of Survey and Public Opinion Research Associations and Organizations:


Understanding Data Gathering Methods

Methods 101 Explainer Videos

Pew Research Center's "Methods 101" series is intended to teach students and beginning researchers the underlying methodologies of data gathers, and analysis, and reporting. Although produced by Pew Research, the concepts described in the videos apply to how most polling organizations develop their polls.

This id the first video in Pew Research Center's "Methods 101" series. It explains the idea of random sampling, a key concept underpinning all probability-based survey research, and why this method of sampling data is important (2:25).

Other videos in the series include:

Federal Government Sources

Executive Branch

Official Websites

  • Executive Orders -- contains information about Executive Orders beginning with those signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and are arranged according to Presidential administration and year of signature. The directory is compiled and maintained by the Office of the Federal Register editors.
  • Presidential Library System -- a nationwide network of Presidential libraries beginning with Herbert Hoover each preserving and making accessible the papers, records, and other historical materials of U.S. Presidents.
  • Compilation of Presidential Documents -- the collection consists of the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents which are the official publications of materials released by the White House Press Secretary. The collection integrates material from the weekly publication dating from 1993.
  • Whitehouse -- the official website of the White House.


  • American Presidents: An Online Reference Resoures -- a comprehensive collection of material about the Presidents of the United States and the history of the presidency. This web site features essays about the President's life before, during, and after each presidential term. It additionally provides information about the First Lady and cabinet officials of each administration.
  • The American Presidency Project -- online resource that has consolidated, coded, and organized into a single searchable database thousands of archival documents and government publications on the Executive Branch.
  • Commission on Presidential Debates -- an organization established in 1987 to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners.
  • "I Do Solemnly Swear . . .": Presidential Inaugurations -- a collection of approximately 400 items or 2,000 digital files relating to inaugurations from George Washington's in 1789 to Barack Obama's inauguration of 2009. The site includes diaries and letters of presidents and of those who witnessed inaugurations, handwritten drafts of inaugural addresses, broadsides, inaugural tickets and programs, prints, photographs, and sheet music.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Legislative Branch

Official Websites

  • Congressional Directory--the official directory of the U.S. Congress that contains biographies of each member of the Senate and House, listed by state or district, and additional data, such as committee memberships. Also contains addresses, phone numbers, and other Congressional information. Published since 1888, the online version includes members from 1995 to the present.
  • Government Accountability Office--the GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress to investigate how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. Site includes a searchable database of the agency's reports to Congress.
  • House of Representatives--the official website of the House of Representatives.
  • THOMAS (Library of Congress)--the catalog and database of contemporary Congressional information, including bills, the Congressional Record, hearings, reports, and other Congressional activities.
  • United States Senate--the official website of the Senate.


  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (1774-present)--database of member of Congress that can be searched by name, position (e.g. Representative, Senator, Delegate), State, Party, and/or Year or Congress in order to create customized lists and to access short biographies.
  • Capitol Spotlight--site features stories written by staff of the Congressional Quarterly publishers, a "Bills to Watch" alert service, and C-SPAN's on-demand video and live streams of House and Senate floor proceedings. Updated daily.
  • A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation consists of a linked set of published congressional records of the United States of America from the Continental Congress through the 43rd Congress, 1774-1875.
  • Congressional Bills Project--a relational database of over 400,000 public and private bills introduced in the U.S. House and Senate since 1947. The site also serves as a repository for related resources and research papers.
  • Federal Digital System -- FDSys provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the United States government. The database offers advanced search capabilities and the ability to refine and narrow your search for quick access to the information you need.
  • GovTrack--research tool that helps researchers locate and track activities in the U.S. Congress. The tool can be used to identify the status of U.S. federal legislation, voting records for the Senate and House of Representatives, information on Members of Congress, district maps, as well as congressional committees and the Congressional Record. Also offers the ability to create customized tracking alerts that can be received via RSS Feed or embedded on a website.
  • LegiStorm--as a non-partisan company, LegiStorm is dedicated to providing a variety of important information about the US Congress, including a database of congressional staff salaries and a comprehensive database of all privately financed trips taken by members of Congress and congressional staffers. Also tracks the latest happenings on the House and Senate floors, as well as upcoming floor debates and committee hearings.
  • OpenCongress--a free, open-source, and non-partisan web resource that brings together official government data with news coverage, blog posts, public comments, and more about what's happening in Congress. Great site!
  • Open CRS--provides access to Congressional Research Service Reports released to the public by members of Congress.
  • Project Vote-Smart Congressional Information--rovides links to information on current members of Congress, committees, and Congressional leadership. The link "Congressional Resources" contains links to party organizations, guides to the workings of Congress, and historical/architectural information.
  • United States Congressional Serial Set -- commonly referred to as the Serial Set, this collection contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate. Documents cover a wide variety of topics and may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, executive-branch materials were also published in the Serial Set.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Judicial Branch

Official Websites

  • Office of the Solicitor General -- responsible for supervising and conducting litigation in the Supreme Court on behalf of the United States government.
  • Supreme Court -- the official website of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • U.S. Courts -- the official website of the federal judiciary.

Supreme Court Cases

  • Legal Information Institute -- contains court decisions and opinions from 1990 to the present provided by the Cornell School of Law. The archive can be searched by topic, author, or party involved.
  • Oyez Project -- a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work.
  • Preview of the U.S. Supreme Court Cases -- provides briefs on the merits going back to the Court's 2003 term. Amicus briefs are included, but only for cases from the current term. The site is organized by term and month according to when the cases were argued before the Court. The main Preview page provides links to lists of cases argued in each term listed alphabetically by case name. The "Alphabetical Order (A-Z)" link is for the current term.
  • U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978 -- a fully searchable database of approximately 11 million pages and more than 350,000 separate documents related to the Supreme Court from 1832-1978. Approximately 150,000 Supreme Court cases are featured, the majority consisting of those for which the Court did not give a full opinion.

Supreme Court Briefs and Oral Arguments


  • C-SPAN America and the Courts: Supreme Court -- provides links to videos, audio, and special programs on the Supreme Court.
  • Findlaw -- searchable database of full-text Supreme Court cases from 1937 to the present as well as federal and state court cases and codes.
  • Judicial Watch -- a conservative educational foundation that promotes transparency, accountability, and integrity in government, politics and the law, informs the public about abuses and misconduct by political and judicial officials, and advocates for the need for an ethical, law abiding and moral civic culture.
  • Legal Information Institute Bulletin -- a Cornell Law School electronic journal that posts detailed previews of the U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming cases. Previews are archived back to 2004.
  • The National Law Journal -- provides summaries of the current yearly calendar term ["October Term"] as soon as a decision is granted. In addition, news coverage is gathered from major legal newspapers. Free registration required.
  • Public Library of Law --  a database that provides Appellate and Supreme Court cases for all fifty states from 1997 to the present, all Federal Circuit Court cases from 1950 to the present, and all U.S. Supreme Court cases. The site also provides links to the statutes, constitutions, and court rules from all fifty states, selected state regulations and links to the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, and the Federal court rules.
  • SCOTUSblog -- devoted to comprehensively covering the U.S. Supreme Court without bias. The blog generally reports on every merits case before the Court at least three times: prior to argument; after argument; and after the decision.
  • Supreme Court Database -- contains over two hundred pieces of information about each case decided by the Court between the 1953 and 2008 terms. Examples include the identity of the court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed, the parties to the suit, the legal provisions considered in the case, and the votes of the Justices.
  • The Supreme Court Historical Society -- a private non-profit organization founded by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger dedicated to the collection and preservation of the history of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Supreme Court Nomination Hearings -- provides information related to nomination hearings through available files for downloading. Note: Due to extremely large file sizes, browse pages based on the Table of Contents for each hearing. Each browse page has a link to the full hearing in PDF format as a ZIP file. You may need WinZip installed on your computer to unzip these files.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Historical Resources

Historical Resources

Archival Collections

  • American Memory -- contains a collection of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures and text from the Library of Congress Americana collections. There are over 70 collections included in the project. You can search a particular topic or browse through the collections.
  • Chronicling America -- this site from the Library of Congress allows you to search and view American newspaper pages from 1880-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.
  • C-SPAN Archives -- records, indexes, and archives all C-SPAN programming aired since 1987, now totaling over 160,000 hours. All C-SPAN programs since 1993 are digital and can be viewed online for free.
  • Documenting the American South (DocSouth) -- a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes fourteen thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs.
  • Exploring Constitutional Law -- this site explores some of the great issues and controversies that surround the Constitution, including documents and information relating to the history of the Constitution and full-text legal cases, notes, and other materials.
  • History Matters -- this site serves as a gateway to web resources, teaching materials, first-person primary documents, and guides to analyzing historical evidence in American history.
  • New Deal Network -- a research and teaching resource devoted to the public works, public policies, and arts projects of the New Deal.
  • Oyez Project -- a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work.
  • Presidential Recordings Program -- between 1940 and 1973, six American presidents from both political parties--FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, and Nixon--secretly recorded on tape just under 5,000 hours of their meetings and telephone conversations. This site contains those files.
  • Voices of Democracy -- a project is designed to promote the study of great speeches and public debates. The emphasis of the project is on the actual words of those who, throughout American history, have defined the country's guiding principles, debated the great social and political controversies of the nation's history, and shaped the identity and character of the American people.
  • Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 -- a resource site organized around the history of women in social movements in the U.S.  The collection includes more than 90 document projects or archives and 2,800 documents and 125,000 pages of additional full-text sources, written by more than 2,240 primary authors. It also includes book, film, and website reviews, notes from the archives, and teaching tools.
  • World Newsreels Online -- database containing hundreds of international newsreels produced between 1929 and 1966 that also includes scrolling transcriptions of the audio and the ability to create and export clips.

Public Records and Government Documents

  • 100 Milestone Documents  -- a list of 100 milestone documents, compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration, and drawn primarily from its nationwide holdings. The documents chronicle United States history from 1776 to 1965.
  • Core Documents of U.S Democracy -- core group of current and historical Government publications that define our democratic society.
  • National Archives and Records Administration -- official agency site that allows searching of holdings by federal government organization, media, location, and topics.
  • Senate Executive Journals -- contains the minutes of the meetings of the U.S. Senate, including official record of business on petitions, memorials, motions, bills, resolutions, and the votes on them. The Journals also has occasional excerpts from both speeches on the floor of the chamber and communications sent to Congress by the President and the heads of the Executive Departments. The Executive Session Journal of the Senate is a record of its closed session deliberations, mostly on two principal topics: treaties and nominations.
  • United States Historical Census Data  -- data presented here describe the people and the economy of the US for each state and county from 1790 to 1960.
  • U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates 1774-1873 -- consists of a linked set of published congressional records of the United States of America from the Continental Congress through the 43rd Congress, 1774-1875.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Focus Group Resources

Focus Group Resources

The most thorough source of information available from the USC Libraries concerning using focus groups as a qualitative method of data gathering are the following resources from Sage Publishing:

SAGE Research Methods Online and Cases
This database includes books, articles, encyclopedias, and videos covering social science research design and methods including the complete Little Green Book series of Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences and the Little Blue Book series of qualitative research. Also includes case studies outlining the research methods used in real research projects.

SAGE Research Methods Video
This database includes hours of tutorials, interviews, video case studies, and mini-documentaries covering the entire research process.

A focus group is a form of group interview centered on a particular topic or activity and in which the interaction within the group is used to facilitate the elicitation of participants' views. But an alternative approach to conducting a focus group that you could consider is described here:

Canipe, Martha M. “Unmoderated Focus Groups as a Tool for Inquiry.” The Qualitative Report 25, 9 (2020): 3361-3368. Retrieved from


Additional Guides to Research and Writing

Additional Guides



  • Cinematic Arts -- research guide to cinema and television resources.
  • Communication Studies -- comprehensive research guide to communication studies and related sub-disciplines.
  • Journalism -- guide to resources supporting research in the field of journalism.
  • Political Science Research Guide -- comprehensive guide to databases and scholarly web sites that support the study of political science and its related sub-disciplines.