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Law School Papers and Law Review Notes & Comments - Research Strategies

For USF law students researching and writing scholarly papers and law review pieces.

Introduction - Why Articles & Why Indexes

If you are writing a major paper or law review piece, you'll want to look at law journal articles both to see what other scholars are saying, and to find leads to cases, statutes, books, articles, and other documents that could help with your research.

To find articles, try any or all of the tools mentioned on this page. The more different tools and search techniques you use, the more useful information you will find. Useful search techniques might include key word searches, subject (or "descriptor") searches, and case-name and statute-name searches.

This guide emphasizes "indexes" — article-finding tools that allow very thorough and very precise searching but do not themselves contain the full-text of articles. For detailed comparisons of the various types of article-finding tools, take a look at the Zief Library's Finding Articles research guide.

Index to Legal Periodicals & Books

Index to Legal Periodicals includes citations to almost all articles from almost every U.S. law review or journal for the time periods it covers. Searches using broad, general terms — searches that often get too many irrelevant results in full-text search tools — often succeed in Index to Legal Periodicals.

HeinOnline Law Journal Library

This is the largest full-text source for law review articles. You can search it directly, or use it to pull up the full text of articles for which other sources gave only the citations.

Full Text Articles on Westlaw & Lexis

The law review and journal sources on Westlaw on Lexis aren't quite as comprehensive as the "indexes" (ILP and Legal Resource Index), but  they still have plenty of articles, and when you use them, you might also find intriguing brief discussions tucked inside articles that are not otherwise relevant to your research.

Try both natural language and "terms and connectors" searching. If a terms and connectors search retrieves too many articles to review, try searching for your terms in the "title" field, or try a natural language search.

Legal & Non-Legal Articles - Google Scholar

Google Scholar, while not comprehensive, provides a quick way to get a cross-disciplinary set of articles. It can be especially useful as you start your research and are still refining your search terms.

Is the Journal I Need at USF?

So you have a citation to a great-sounding article — but not direct link to the full text....

How do you tell if the article is available at USF?

Just use USF's "Journal Finder" to look up the title of the journal that published the article. If that journal is available at USF, it will (usually) show up in the journal finder.  

(One caveat: the Journal Finder doesn't tell you if a journal is on Westlaw or on Lexis Advance.)

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