History: Law (Cobbett, Gilman)


Quotation Marks

Use quotations to find an exact phrase. For example:

“affirmative action”

“capital punishment”

“gun control”

“Supreme Court”

“tort reform”

Truncation (using an asterisk *)

Try using truncation to get better search results. Truncation means that a symbol–usually an asterisk *–is added to the end of a word root. This asterisk tells the database to search for all forms of that word. For example:

If you type censor* in the search box, you will get articles with all instances of the word censor, such as:






Advanced Search and Sorting Results

Most databases provide links or a drop-down menu to sort by relevance or date.

Most databases have a link called Advanced or Advanced Search. Using Advanced Search, you can:

limit the date range

limit the document type

refine your keyword search

Tips for CQ Researcher and SIRS

Tips for CQ Researcher

Check that the article is recent (published in the last 5 years or so). Some topics will not have a recent article in CQ Researcher.

Do not print the entire report.

To get the correct citation, in the citation area at the bottom, click See Alternate Citation Style. Click the MLA Style link. Copy and paste the MLA citation into your bibliography.

Tips for SIRS

Using the blue links at the top left, you can sort by date or relevance.

Check out the subjects in the See also section at the top of the results. If a subject seems to fit your topic well, then click it for more relevant results.


Overviews (reference) and Articles (mainly from newspapers and magazines)

Opposing Viewpoints (Gale)

SIRS (ProQuest)

U.S. History in Context (Gale)


CQ Researcher (in-depth articles, about 40 pages each)

Articles only (no overviews)

Boston Globe Newspaper (ProQuest)

New York Times Newspaper (Gale)

Expanded Academic ASAP (Gale) (articles from newspapers, magazines, and academic journals)

L-S Library Database Passwords (to access databases from home)

JSTOR (optional, if you are seeking a challenge)

JSTOR contains digitized back issues of academic journals. It is available through the Boston Public Library (BPL). If you want to use it, then read and follow these instructions carefully.


Cite your sources as you find them, using MLA 8 Style. Most LS Library databases provide citations (below the article, or through a link).

NoodleTools can help you create and organize your citations and notes. To sign in: Log in to your LS Google account, click the waffle menu, and scroll down to NoodleTools. If you get stuck and need help, then please check in with Paula or Peter.

Here’s some citation guidance:

Citing Legal and Legislative Sources, MLA 8

How to do Footnotes & in-Text Citation (4 slides)

Various Citation Links (bib generators, more guides, etc.)


As you find sources, you need to evaluate them for soundness, currency, relevance, authority, and purpose. This goes both for database sources and web sources. Here’s a list of questions that can help you evaluate sources:

SCRAP Test Questions