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Race & Racism Seminar Guide: Background

This LibGuide is designed for Professor Ross's Fall 2016 Race & Racism Seminar Course



The background section orients the reader. The background provides enough summary material to inform the reader of pertinent cases, public policy, and changes in the law to conceptualize the subsequent analysis section. If the paper concerns the Commerce Clause, then the background section would contain relevant case law and changes in interpretation over time to enable the current reader to understand the forthcoming analysis section. The background section should not be an encyclopedic review of every case related to the Commerce Clause, but should include enough information to successfully orient the reader.

Skeleton Outline of a Background Section

Background Section

  • The background section proves a thorough, focused summary of any material the reader needs to understand the analysis.
    • Explain the development of the law
  • Explain the major cases, theories, or view
    • Give relevant facts, rules, holdings
  • Explain the development of any statutes involved
    • Give the relevant legislative history
    • Briefly explain the major cases interpreting the statutes
  • Explain the major scholarship on the problem area
    • Briefly explain the major schools of thought
    • Briefly tell if one school of thought is more persuasive