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The federal government is divided into three branches, each with a different set of responsibilities. Consider these responsibilities and the information they produce when starting your research.

  • The Legislative branch makes laws. Information from this branch also includes proposed laws, hearings and other documents included in the law-making process.
  • The Executive branch regulates how the laws should be enforced. This branch, through its various agencies, also publishes a variety of reports, consumer information, maps, statistics, etc.
  • The Judicial branch determines the constitutionality of the laws and questions the fairness and interpretation in their enforcement. This includes the federal system, including the Supreme Court.

Publications From Governments, International Organizations, and NGOs

Government Documents


  • With a few exceptions, government publications and research cover virtually any subject.


  • Many electronic government publications come with authentication seals and are considered to be reliable sources of information.


  • Much government information, such as hearings, court cases, diplomatic papers, is considered primary source material.


  • Most government information is freely available to the public. As taxpayers, you've already paid for it! In addition, there are not copyright restrictions on government information.

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