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Social Justice

Type of Information You Need

What kind of information will you need?

By using various kinds of information, you can develop a good picture of your topic and write about it convincingly

Background information will help you understand your topic.
  • Definitions of words or concepts
  • Historical information 
  • Biographical data (e.g. dates of birth & death, parents' names)
  • Demographic data or population statistics 
  • Experimental data & studies 
You can use criticism, analysis, essays, and opinion pieces to learn what others think about your topic. 
  • Book or film reviews
  • Essays or opinion pieces
  • Literature reviews 
  • Academic/ scholarly articles


As the subject of social justice is very large, you will probably have more success researching it if you focus on a narrower topic within it. Below are a few ideas for focusing your research.

Civil Rights:

  • Affirmative Action
  • Brown v. Board of Education
  • Housing Policy
  • Voting Rights Act 
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Black Lives Matter Movement 

Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice:

  • Adult Sentencing for Juveniles 
  • Police Brutality
  • Profiling
  • Wrongful Conviction
  • Mass Incarceration
  • Mandatory Minimums


  • Amnesty / Refugees
  • Border Security
  • DREAM Act
  • Immigrant Labor
  • Migrant Workers / Farm Workers
  • Deportation 

Income Inequality:

  • Poverty
  • Homeless Rights
  • Social Welfare Reform
  • Minimum Wage (Federal or State)
  • Affordable Care Act / Health Care Reform
  • Student Debt Crisis 
  • Labor Unions

Gender Inequality:

  • Pay Gap  
  • Women's Health Care
  • Roe v Wade 
  • Maternity Leave (or Paternity Leave)
  • Online Harassment (example: Gamergate) 

LGBT Rights:

  • Marriage Equality 
  • Same Sex Adoption
  • Obergefell v. Hodges
  • Transgender Discrimination
  • Conversion Camps 
  • Violence Against Transgender Persons 

Other Cultural, Ethnic, & Gender Minority Issues:

  • Portrayal in Media & Popular Culture
  • Unequal Representation in Government
  • Cultural Appropriation 
  • Erasure from History 
  • Genocide
  • Targeted Assaults (i.e. Hate Crimes) 

Where to Look for Research

Scholarly Source

Reference books

  • Include encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, biographies, directories, and atlases.
  • Great for setting a foundation for your understanding of a topic.
  • These are usually reliable sources of widely accepted, factual data. 

Academic Journals 

  • Collections of research articles, case studies, literature reviews, reports, experimental studies, and other writing. 
  • Released primarily in print, but are usually available on electronic databases.
  • Come out periodically - usually annually, quarterly, or monthly.
  • They usually rely heavily on research or experimentation, and are written for academic communities. 
  • Contain what are widely referred to as "scholarly articles."

Popular Sources

Newspapers and Magazines

  • Information that is current or topical can be found in news or magazine articles. 
  • Published in magazines, newspapers, or websites, and are read by a wide variety of readers. 
  • Employ a system of fact-checking and editorial review before going to press.
  • Professional journalists investigate stories and write articles. 
  • No subject-area expertise is required to write and publish these articles.

The Internet 

The Internet is that it's a wonderful, rich landscape of information. But determining which of those millions of sources is relevant to your needs and valuable to your search can be difficult. Evaluating websites and webpages using the CRAAP test is a good place to start

...and about eBooks

  • Electronic versions of books, sometimes created as online versions only and, other times, digital versions of books already in print.
  • The "e" part of "eBook" only describes the way the material is presented, or format, but not the value of the content.