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Law - Beginning Your Research

How to do legal research.


There are a number of key secondary sources that will assist you in conducting effective legal research. These include: legal encyclopedias, textbooks, law journal articles, case digests, legal dictionaries, non-legal dictionaries and words & phrases sets.

Legal research is an organic process. As a general rule, start your research by locating relevant commentary in a legal encyclopedia or a textbook. Both sources will provide you with an overview of the topic, help you clarify and define the legal issues, refer you to potentially useful case and statute citations, and identify legal concepts that you may not have considered.

While the resources highlighted in this guide are important for carrying out legal research, the listing is selective. There are many other legal materials that may be relevant to the issues that you are researching. Please consult a librarian for assistance with your particular topic.