Initial use of search engines designed to access a large volume of materials can be helpful in scanning the literature on a particular topic and obtaining an initial understanding of how scholars, journalists, and others have studied your topic of interest.
USC Libraries Catalog -- searches all library holdings of both print and electronic books and other materials including U.S. government documents.
USC Libraries Search Engine -- the search option on the USC Libraries main web page provides a single search box with access to print and online books, selected digital resources, and full-text journal, magazine, and newspaper articles owned by the USC Libraries or accessible online through subscriptions. Information about using the Libraries' search engine can be found here.
Listed below are multidisciplinary databases that provide comprehensive access to resources that support research in administrative and regulatory law, public policy, and judicial affairs.
Google Scholar -- Google Scholar provides access to mostly scholarly [i.e., peer-reviewed, academic] sources, including scholarly titles from Google Book Search. The search engine has a "Cited by" feature that allows you to track where a particular source has been subsequently cited after publication. Information about using Google Scholar can be found here.
JSTOR -- an archive of core, full-text journals in the social sciences, humanities, and sciences. Good source to search for historical research studies about a topic.
ProQuest -- a database that simultaneously searches hundreds of subject areas, indexes thousands of scholarly journal articles, and major newspapers and magazines. A good starting point for any topic.
Specialized Sources of Background Information
The full-text and keyword searchable databases listed below enable you to search the contents of dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, and other reference books in a variety of subject areas or to find scholarly summaries of topics. These databases can be a good place to locate definitive, unbiased explanations of key concepts, theories, and topics as well as biographic profiles and descriptions of historic events. Most of these databases are multidisciplinary and some of their content overlaps, but search more than one database as needed to gain a thorough description of your topic.
Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.