In this guide:
Please view our screencast video detailing the process of researching your scholarly paper, including:
More specifics on each of these processes is detailed below in the tabs as well as in separate, specific screencasts at the bottom of the page.
Before a case or statute is discussed in law reviews, it is covered in newspapers, legal newsletters, blogs, or industry magazines and newsletters. Look up legal news using the three major legal research databases. Some legal resources enable you to search for circuit splits or cases of first impression that are worthy of writing about.
Both the ABA and Justia websites have blawg directories that researchers can search by subject. Legal blawgs frequently talk about hot issues and recent decisions and can therefore be a great way to find a topic.
Use the UNM Law Library's Finding Journal Articles research guide.
A preemption check is the process of determining whether the topic you are writing about has been substantially covered by someone else in the past.
To perform a preemption check, conduct a thorough search of available legal publications:
A thesis statement is the central idea upon which your entire paper will focus and it includes the issue that you will resolve. Some things to keep in mind are:
Thesis: an original and supportable proposition about the subject.
It is not enough to simply identify a problem; you need to try to resolve it.
Narrow your thesis to something manageable.
Develop Your Thesis.
After you identify your thesis, test it.
-Documenting makes you deliberate: it forces you to stop and think.
-You are documenting your strategy and your research path so it can be recreated.
-It makes you remember the steps you took.
- It provides you with protection; you've covered yourself and your organization by documenting your careful, thorough research.
Best Practices: your research log template should include:
-Date: both of when you are conducting the research; and of incident creating Issue
-Issue: including facts and chronology
-Track your Research: What terms did you use? How did you get to your information? Citations! Where did you get your
-Updating: What is the coverage date of the resource you consulted? Is it the correct time coverage?
-At the end of your research session that day/week: document the status of your research: Were more potential issues uncovered? Was the call of the question answered? What is the strength of your authority? Also document citation Info, including potential resources.
Sample of one research log:
Questions to ask when evaluating a resource:
When Google searching, keep in mind:
"An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (approximately 150-word) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited."
"Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they expose the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority."
"L. J. Waite et. al., Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults, 51 Am. Soc. Rev. 541-554 (1986).
The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living."
Credit: Cornell University Library's Tutorial on Annotated Bibliographies, at https://www.library.cornell.edu/research/citation/tutorial