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Legal materials can fall into two different categories: (1) Primary and (2) Secondary. Secondary sources are about the law. They explain, analyze, interpret, discuss, and cite to primary sources. Examples of secondary sources include:
- Legal Dictionaries
- Legal Encyclopedias
- American Law Reports
- Legal periodicals
Secondary sources can only be persuasive, they can never be mandatory or binding on a court of law. The persuasive value of a secondary source depends on its author.
Using secondary sources can save legal researchers time and money.
Research Process Flowchart
Where do secondary sources fall in the research process? Well, if you’re following a basic research strategy, after you analyze your facts, you'll want to consult secondary sources to learn more about your issues and to get references to primary sources.
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