Introduction to the Guide
This guide was initially put together as a project of two advanced legal research courses taught by the Tarlton Law Library in 2011. It provides a general overview of the resources one uses in conducting legal research. The organization of this guide reflects the rough order in which one uses these resources, starting with secondary sources before moving on to primary sources.
Secondary sources include current awareness resources, research guides, legal encyclopedias, treatises, law reviews and the ALR. Primary sources include statutes, regulations and case law. Generally each page within this guide includes:
- a description of what a resource is,
- when and how to use it,
- and its strengths and weaknesses compared to other similar resources.
Like any research process, legal research is not strictly a linear endeavor; oftentimes one will want to circle back to resources for a second go round once there is more information in hand. Selected free resources are included where appropriate as, no matter the stage of research, it can be helpful to explore free versions of legal resources before moving on to licensed databases.
This guide is not comprehensive. For those seeking a more thorough overview of the legal research process, please consult such works as Kent Olson's Principles of Legal Research.
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.