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Paralegal / Legal Studies

This is the research guide for Paralegal / Legal Studies

OneSearch

OneSearch LogoUse OneSearch to search for books, eBooks, articles (from magazines, newspapers, and journals), streaming videos, DVDs, CDs, images, and more, all in a single search. OneSearch cross searches most CCSF Library Databases at the same time. OneSearch can be accessed from the Library website! Want to see how it works? Check out our video demo.

Source Types

Description

  • Background sources (also known as reference sources) are tertiary and contain information we "refer" to, such as dictionaries and encyclopedias. These are good sources to use to get started - when you need ideas for how to narrow your topic, or could use more words to describe your needs (such as when thinking of keywords to put into a search box.)

What do they contain?

  • Entries (though sometimes articles & videos!)

How often are these sources published?

  • Once, annually, or every few years

Found in:

Alternative places to look:

Description

  • Books are full length sources that can be on a topic by one or more authors, or anthologies, which contain several chapters/sections written by different authors that are often compiled by an editor.

What do they contain?

  • Chapters, sections, essays

How often are these sources published?

  • Once, annually, or every few years

Found in:

Description

  • Magazines, journals, and newspapers, are types of "periodicals" - as in, they are published periodically throughout the year. There are many different intended audiences.

What do they contain?

  • Articles

How often are these sources published?

  • Magazines - usually monthly & quarterly (seasonally)
  • Journals - less frequently; can be monthly, but more likely quarterly
  • Newspapers - usually daily

Found in:

Description

  • Media sources come in a variety of audio and visual formats. Some of these can be helpful for research - like podcasts, documentaries, and web clips.

What are some examples?

  • Audio - such as CDs, MP3s, podcasts, and material on streaming websites
  • Video - such as DVDs, MP4s, YouTube videos, and material on streaming services (like Films on Demand and Netflix)

How often are these sources published?

  • Continuously

Found in:

Description

  • Statistics are the result from raw data that have been interpreted and analyzed. They are often helpful when you're looking for a number or percentage to support an argument in your assignments, research papers, or presentations. A statistic will answer "how much" or "how many." Statistics are usually presented in a table, chart, or other visualization.

What do they contain?

  • Usually an average, a percentage, or a frequency as a result of data analysis
    • Examples:
      • The average unemployment rate in the United States in March 2022
      • The percentage of car accidents that occur during a snowstorm
      • The frequency of accidents involving teenage drivers

How often are these sources published?

  • Current statistics might be a year or older and not necessarily published on an annual basis and are based on how often the information is collected + the time it takes to analyze and process numbers.

Found in:

  • Websites for
    • government agencies (e.g. U.S. Census Bureau),
    • private organizations or non-profits (e.g. The American Cancer Society),
    • academic institutions, or
    • the private sector (for example, marketing firms, pollsters, or trade organizations).
  • Articles in journals, newspapers, and magazines.

Note: government statistics are free and publicly available, however, many other kinds of statistics require access through library subscription databases.

Library Databases

The databases below are a good starting point to find articles from newspapers, magazines, and journals. Looking for statistics embedded within these articles can be helpful. Search a keyword or two for your topic. For example, "obesity." Then combine your keyword search with a subject search ("SU Subject Term" ) for statistics.

Description

  • Websites are online spaces that host a multitude of content. The collection of content for a website is within the same domain. (In the example below, sfdph.gov is the domain).
    • Examples:

What do they contain?

How often are these sources published?

  • Continuously

Found on:

  • The "open web." Search engines "crawl" and "index" items found in the open web, such as webpages, blog posts, infographics, PDFs, and other material that people post to the web. The open web contains materials not behind a paywall (such as when an online journal website asks for payment to show you an article). Databases are technically behind a paywall, because they contain material that is accessed after the library pays a subscription fee.

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