Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
UC Logo
Libraries | Ask the Libraries

Research Strategy & Documentation

Sorting & Sifting Through Research

In this stage of the research plan, the researcher needs to sort through the information found and choose the most appropriate resources. Consider the relevancy of the information and prioritize those sources most suited to the issue. Continually re-evaluate progress and results. You may need to go back and read more background.  You may have to find more in-depth and advanced coverage of an issue. You might need to investigate different search methods. Sifting and sorting can cause the researcher to move the research in an entirely different direction than originally conceived. 

When sifting and sorting keep in mind the following:

  • Understand the hierarchy of legal authority
  • Identify the different purposes and relative strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of sources
    •    Examples: 
      • Know the differences between and the relative importance of rules, holdings, and dicta in court decisions
      • Distinguishing between binding and persuasive authority
      • Distinguishing otherwise binding cases from the facts at hand
  • Recognize and address contrary authority
  • Determine how to use factually dissimilar yet legally relevant cases
  • Understand when legal information from other jurisdictions is relevant as persuasive authority in resolving the question at hand
  • Identify scholarship from other disciplines relevant to resolving a specific issue and determine when material from these disciplines might be persuasive in resolving a particular issue

* Taken from Dennis Kim-Prieto, Law Student Informaton Literacy Standards, 103 L. Lib. J. 605 (2011).

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

Contact Us | Staff Directory

University of Cincinnati

Alerts | Clery and HEOA Notice | Notice of Non-Discrimination | eAccessibility Concern | Privacy Statement | Copyright Information

© 2021 University of Cincinnati