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This is the "Specific Types of Research" page of the "Successful Summer Strategies: Research in the Real World" guide.
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Successful Summer Strategies: Research in the Real World   Tags: cost effective, practice  

Research in the real world starts here! Use this guide to orient yourself to the work and research environment.
Last Updated: Oct 5, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Specific Types of Research Print Page

Tutorial on Current Awareness Services

Google Scholar


Start with Secondary Sources

Detailed information on particular secondary sources can be found in the TMLL Guide to Legal Research, "Background Research Using Secondary Sources." Here are some general pointers:

Use at the outset of your research for background on an unfamiliar topic:

  • Treatise or Nutshell
  • Internet Searching - even Wikipedia may provide useful bakground and links!

Use near the beginning of your research for citations to primary authorities:

  • Law reviews or other legal periodicals
  • Legal encyclopedias: state or national
  • American Law Reports (A.L.R.): state or federal

Use for in-depth analysis and scholarly discussion:

Use for obtaining the most current information on pending appeals, lawsuits, legislative developments:

  • Legal newspapers or current awareness service

Use closer to the end of a research project, to confirm conclusions or refine analysis:

  • Treatise
  • Law reviews, especially if current

Use for a state law research project:

  • A state law encyclopedia
  • State bar journal or legal newspaper

Use for expanding a research project to persuasive authority:

  • A.L.R. (state or federal)
  • A national law encyclopedia (Am. Jur. 2d or C.J.S.)

Make sure the secondary sources you consult are as up to date as you can find. Both the background information and the citation finding benefits are diluted if you look at sources that are out of date.  If you are online, use the Locate (Westlaw) and Focus (Lexis) functions to help you browse the materials.  Avoid printing out lengthy documents that may prove to be marginally relevant.  


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