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Guide to Resources for Research & Writing

Welcome to the Research Guide for Research and Writing.  The research and writing project for this course focuses on the First Amendment. For your project, you may identify a current First Amendment issue, investigate a historical question involving the formation of the First Amendment, analyze two or more interpretations, or a number of other specific approaches.  

A number of books have been placed on reserve for your use, including Strunk & White and Turabian, Manual for Writers of Research Papers...  Each is available for a two hour check out, in-library use only.  You can review the reserve list and search for items in the PHC collection using the library's online catalog, Voyager.

Peer tutoring is available in the upper level of the library and is invaluable in helping you hone your writing skills. Librarians are available to help you develop a research topic and strategy.  Stop in, call 540-441-8400, or email If you would like a librarian's undivided attention, make an appointment!  Let us help you!

Turabian is the proper citation format for this project. 



Congressional Digest Debates provides an overview of a number of currently debated issues and then provides scholarly responses on both sides of the debate.  

JSTOR  contains complete issues of 241 scholarly journals in a wide range of disciplines. Issues from the most recent two to five years for each title are not included in the collection.

ProQuest Research Library and Academic Search Premier provide access to 1,000's of articles in the broad areas of social sciences and law many with full-text, images and graphics. If you are new to database searching, you will find these two easy to navigate.

LexisNexis provides access to a wide range business, government, legal and reference information, as well as full-text newspapers.

eBooks provides access to over 65,000+ academic, full-text, electronic books that can be accessed immediately on your computer.  On first use, patrons are prompted to create a userID and password for future access.  Books can be checked out for download for a 2 week period.


Internet resources 

Bill of Rights site developed by the U. S. government provides access to digital copies of the original document, as well as information on its historical context.

Supreme Court is a great place to find information on freedom of speech, association, and religion cases that have been argued before the court.

Cornell Law provides access to scholarly articles relating to court cases involving first amendment issues.

Heritage Foundation provides a wealth of scholarly research usually from a more conservative perspective.

Brookings Institute provides a wealth of scholarly research usually from a more liberal perspective.

Library of Congress provides access to primary source documents that provide historical context for the Bill of Rights, including the papers of many of the signers.

OWL (Online Writing Lab)  is best known for up to date information on citation styles. It is also a wealth of great information for those who need to continually upgrade all areas of their written communications.


Reference works

PHC Writer's Manual, Rules of Thumb: Writing in the Core, provides specific guidelines and helpful suggestions for developing excellence in writing.

The PHC Library also contains the diaries and papers of many of the founding fathers, such as Madison, Washington, Jefferson, and Adams, which can be searched for their perspectives on the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment.


Research tips

  • Search by Subject: Click on a subject term in the record of a book to search for other books on the same subject.
  • Once you locate a helpful book or article, you may find other helpful resources listed in the item’s bibliography. 

All citations must be in Turabian.  Information on proper citation in Turabian is available in the library.

Created: Thornhill, 2011. Reviewed: Prof. Erin Brown-Conroy, 2011.  Revised: Dr. Les Sillars/Thornhill 2012, 2013, 2014.