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REL 258: What Is Justice?

Class resource guide for the Spring 2023 REL 258: What Is Justice?


Welcome to the class research guide for REL 258: What Is Justice? with Dr. Knauth. This guide will provide recommended library resources including reference materials, websites, and journal articles for legal and religion research.

You can find information on creating citations at Snowden's Online Citation Station or at the in-person station on the first floor of the library. Librarians are also happy to help you with citing!

What Do You Need?

There is no textbook for this course. Instead you will be using a variety of library resources to find:

  • Newspaper articles about high profile legal cases
  • Scholarly journal articles about legal cases, concepts, and principles
  • Legal proceedings, case overviews, case law, statues, legal precedent, and summaries of landmark court decisions 

Creating an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. Annotated bibliographies look like a Works Cited page but includes a brief, descriptive annotation after each source. Writing an annotated bibliography can help you: 

  • Learn more about your topic and what information sources are available
  • Develop your own point of view by reading and evaluating many different sources
  • Decide if a specific source will be useful for your assignment

What to Include in an Annotation

Annotations are typically around 100 – 150 words and require you to:

  • Identify the author’s expertise
  • Describe the main ideas, content, topic, and/or thesis of a source
  • Identify the observations or conclusions of the author
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a source
  • Explain why a source is useful for your research and how it relates to your topic

Advanced Search Tips

Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT)

  • AND: use to marrow your search and combine topics, terms, or subjects (ex: evidence AND admissibility).
  • OR: use to expand your search and look for similar topics or synonyms (ex: death penalty OR capital punishment).
  • NOT: use to omit a term from your search (ex: evidence NOT briefs).


  • Truncation - adding an asterisk (*) symbol after the root of a word - broadens your search by finding word variations that begin with the same letters.
  • advertis* = advertising, advertisement, advertisements

"Quotation Marks"

  • Using quotations marks tells a database to search for an exact title or phrase.
  • "habeas corpus" , "environmental protection agency"