How to Use this Guide
This guide is designed for you to use the tabs sequentially. The Issue/Issue Spotting tab has a hypothetical that is used throughout the guide. There are images of examples* of the print resources. You can find the similar features in online resources (Lexis and Westlaw) as well.
*(Although out of date, they accurately illustrate the research skill. Always make sure the resources you use are not outdated.)
Executive Summary / Learning Objectives
- Check Secondary sources - especially Commentaries
- READ STATUTE using an annotated code (print or online)
- UPDATE your research
- Ask questions - investigate Research Guides
Print v. Online
Do I ever have to use the books?
- Print v. Online
This is a false dichotomy. Depending upon the issue one or the other may be preferable. Typically a combination of both types of resources will prove most useful.
Online research tends to be more productive when:
- your research concept involves a "term of art" - e.g., "self incrimination"
- you need up-to-date information
- you need to Shepardize/ Keycite
Online research is less useful when:
- you are unfamiliar with the terminology of the issue -e.g., in New York, procedural rules to sue an administrative agency are referred to as "special proceedings".
- there are many different ways to express the concept you are researching - words v. ideas - e.g., what is the definition of a contract partner in a law firm
Assistant Director for Reference and Instruction