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General Legal Research: Articles

Information on basic primary and secondary legal sources.

Search Tips!

To formulate successful search queries and to find relevant results, use terms & connectors, wild cards, proximity searches, and field restrictors

Here are some examples:

Terms & Connectors

Wild Cards
!, *, ?

Proximity Searches
/s, /5, /p

Field Restrictors
JU(), Court

Not sure which search techniques are recognized by the database you are using?  Look for the Help icon or link to find out.

Scholarly vs. Popular

Peer-reviewed (aka refereed) Written for general readership
Written by professionals Variety of authors
Include extensive references Limited to no references
E.g. Harvard Law Review E.g. The Wall Street Journal


When you are looking for articles, there are two main types - scholarly or popular.  Scholarly articles are usually peer reviewed (sometimes called refereed), meaning that the articles have been looked over by other experts in the field.  In addition, they are written by professionals and they include references (things like footnotes or endnotes).  Articles coming from law review journals are generally scholarly. 

Popular materials are written for general readership and may or may not be written by experts in the field.  They usually do not include references.  Articles in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal or magazines such as Time are considered popular materials.

When you are writing an academic paper, you usually want to  stick to scholarly sources.

Finding Articles

Use one of the databases below to locate relevant articles, both scholarly and popular.  If you need assistance navigating any of the databases or coming up with appropriate searches, please see a reference librarian.

Using Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a great starting point when looking for FREE access to scholarly articles.  If you find something on Google Scholar that isn't full text, stop in the LRC and we can help you look for a full text version in one of our many commercial databases.

Google Scholar Search