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Research Strategy & Documentation


Finding background information is an important step of the research process if you are unfamiliar with the topic. As well as giving a general overview and citations to additional resources, a good background source can help you identify the vocabulary you will need to proceed with more in-depth research. Below are some types of background resources that you might want to consult.

  • Legal Dictionaries
  • Legal Encyclopedias
  • Nutshells
  • Hornbooks
  • Understanding series
  • Examples and Explanations

In addition to the above resources, also consider consulting a bibliography or research guide on the subject. Experts in a particular field will sometimes compile lists of useful resources for people pursuing research. These can be invaluable.

Types of Resources

After consulting background information, consider what might be the best sources for the information you need. This will depend on what type of issue you are researching and how you are going to use that research. The type of research you might do for a client letter vs. a motion vs. an appellate brief vs. a research paper vs. a speech will be very different.

  • books
  • periodicals (law reviews, journals etc.)
  • newspapers
  • government documents
  • reports
  • biographical sources
  • videos
  • reference books: almanacs, etc.
  • people (experts)
  • archives/special collections
  • Internet sources
  • cases
  • statutes
  • regulations
  • legislative history
  • rulings

After determining the best sources, look to the research tools to find those sources.

Law Library Research Guides to Locating Resources

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Phone: 513-556-1424

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