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Use commentary to define & understand issues

Texts

Start by reviewing commentary

As a general rule, it is best to start your research with commentary, such as a text or legal encyclopedia. This will provide an overview of the topic, help to define the issues, refer to journal articles or primary sources, and suggest key words to …

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Encyclopedias

When and how to use a legal encyclopedia

Legal encyclopedias contain a narrative summary of the law, supported by references to primary sources. A legal encyclopedia may be the fastest way for you to get a reasonably current summary of the law on a certain topic, and to obtain references …

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Journals and seminar papers

When to use journal articles

If the texts and encyclopedia entries you find are too general, are outdated, or don’t deal specifically with your jurisdiction, concentrate on finding journal articles or continuing legal education seminar papers. If you are writing an academic paper, periodicals research is essential. Journals should also …

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Memorandums and factums

Legal memorandums

A legal memorandum on the issue you are researching can be a very useful resource, although you must evaluate it as you would any other resource. It is best to use it as a starting point rather than regarding it as the answer.

  • How current is the research?
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Wikis, blogs and newsletters

Wikis

A wiki is a website that is created collaboratively using software that allows individuals to add and edit content. One of the best known research sites created this way is Wikipedia. Just as when evaluating the content on web sites, care must be taken when relying on content …

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