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Legal Research Process

Introduction to the Guide

This guide provides a general overview of legal research resources, in rough chronological order of use. The guide begins with issue spotting considerations to come up with search terms, make the best use of Google, and tips on how to evaluate websites. In general though, start with secondary sources before moving on to primary sources.

Secondary sources include:         Primary sources include:

Generally each page within this guide includes:

  • a description of a resource,
  • when and how to use it,
  • and its strengths and weaknesses compared to other similar resources.

Legal research is an iterative process; oftentimes one will want to circle back to resources once there is more information in hand.


This guide is not comprehensive. For those seeking a more thorough overview of the legal research process, please consult such works as Kent Olson et al's Principles of Legal Research. Suffolk Law also provides a handy chart of legal research resources, comparing features and coverage.

Please note, access to certain databases linked in this guide may be restricted to UT Law or the UT community; please see the library's Databases page that lays out access privileges.