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Constitutional Law Research


Step 1 Survey the Landscape

These reference books and outlines will help you with the following essentials:

  • Context -- gain a good background understanding of the topic

  • Specialized Language -- become familiar with the vocabulary scholars and other authors use to discuss the topic

  • Focus -- move from a  general interest in a topic to more specific issues related to the topic

  • Next Steps -- identify further research materials through citations & bibliographies

Black's law dictionary
Case Ref KF156 .B53 2004

Constitutional Law Dictionary
Case Ref KF4548.5 .C47 1985

Encyclopedia of the American Constitution
Case Ref KF4548 .E53 2000
Colgate Network KF4548 .E53 2000eb

The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History
Case Ref K48 .094 2009


The Founders' Constitution
Case Main KF4502.F68 1987

The Language of the Constitution : a sourcebook and guide to the ideas, terms, and vocabulary used by the framers of the United States Constitution
Case Ref KF4548.5 .G74 1991

The Exhaustive Concordance to the United States Constitution
Case Ref KF4528.5 .E97 1994


The Constitution of the United States of America, analysis and interpretation: annotations of cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States to ...
Case Ref Document Y 1.1/3: (most recent issue)
LASR Gov't Document (older issues)
Colgate Network

Constitutional rights sourcebook
Case Ref KF4550.Z9 R463 1999 

Modern constitutional law
Case Ref  KF4550 .R47 2011

A companion to the United States Constitution and its amendments
Case Ref KF4550 .V55 2010

Constitutional amendments, 1789 to the present
Case Ref KF4557 .C665 2000

Encyclopedia of Constitutuional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789-2010. 3rd ed.
Colgate Network KF4557.V555 2010eb

Encyclopedia of Constitutuional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789-2002. 2nd ed.
Case Ref KF4557.V555 2003

The Bill of Rights
Case Ref KF4750 .B55 2002

Encyclopedia of the First Amendment
Case Ref KF4770.E53 2009

The Constitutional Convention of 1787: a comprehensive encyclopedia of America's founding
Colgate Network KF4510.V55 2005eb


A Practical Companion to the Constitution : how the Supreme Court has ruled on issues from abortion to zoning
Case Ref KF4548 .L54 1999

The Oxford guide to United States Supreme Court Decicions
Case Ref KF 4548.5 .O97 2009

Landmark Supreme Court Cases: a reference guide
Case Ref KF4549.L58 1999

Landmark Decisions of the United States Supreme Court
Case Ref KF 4550.F54 2008

Supreme Court Cases on Gender and Sexual Equality 1787-2001
Case Ref KF 4758.A7 A96 2002

Supreme Court Yearbook
Case Main KF8741.A152 287 ( 1989-2001)
Introductory essay, review of the term by topic, summaries of decisions by topic, opinion excerpts.

Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court
Case Ref KF8742.W567 2010


Full-text sources of current news and analysis
LexisNexis Academic News
LexisNexis Academic News Legal News Group
ProQuest Historical Newspapers (N.Y. Times 1851- )
America's Historical Newspapers (1690-1922)
United States Law Week
Case Ref KF105.1 .B87 (v. 43, 1974/75-v. 78, no.10, July-Sept. 2009))
Other News sources (most not full text)


Step 2 Books

Searching library catalogs by keyword, then by exact subject heading, will allow you to locate books which are devoted to, or have a chapter/essay devoted to, analysis of your topic. Footnotes and bibliographies found in these works are rich sources of further research material.

Catalog & ConnectNY & WorldCat

Sample exact subject searches:
     Constitutional amendments -- United States
     Constitutional history -- United States
     Constitutional law -- United States
     Constitutional conventions -- United States
     United States Constitution
     United States Constitutional Convention (1787)
     United States Constitution 1st Amendment      
      various terms that describe the subject of each amendment,
          e.g. Firearms -- Law and legislation
          use keyword search to identify appropriate subject headings


Step 3 Journal Articles

Some of these databases are indexes, not full text sources. After identifying a potentially useful article, check to see if we own the text. Use Article Finder links from within the database or a title search in Journal Finder. They will tell you if we own the journal (or "source") in print or on microfilm collection or if it can be found in one of our full-text journal databases. If we do not own the issue of the journal that you need, you can submit an interlibrary loan request for the article. Delivery of Interlibrary loan articles typically takes 2-5 days.

Hein Online Political Science Journals - Basic (first vol.- )
full text

LexisNexis Legal (varies, 1981- )
full text

Index to Legal Periodical Literature ( -1920)
part of Nineteenth Century Masterfile

Index to Legal Periodicals (1952-1996)
Case Ref K9 .N35

Political Science databases
Political Philosophy databases
History databases


Step 4  Primary Sources




Page Created & Maintained by: Mary Jane Walsh | Last Updated: February 23, 2012 | © 2009

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