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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 Seek Articles from Non-Legal Journals?

If your topic is — or might be — interdisciplinary, look for articles from non-legal journals. This will add depth and interest to your paper, comment, or note. Look especially articles from "peer reviewed" journals for the field in question, because these articles will be the among most scholarly and rigorous.

If you get a citation to the article without a link to the full text, use USF's Journal Finder (see below) to see if USF has the journal in question. (Search using the title of the journal, not the title of the article.) If you run into any roadblocks, consult with a Zief research librarian.

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Multidisciplinary Article-Finding & Dissertation-Finding Tools

If you don't want to limit your search to a single area, field, or discipline, try these tools, which are among the many article-finding tools the Gleeson Library makes available to USF students, faculty, and staff. (These tools will often lead to or cite to articles from both scholarly and non-scholarly sources. They also might lead to legal articles as well.)

Finding Articles Related to a Specific Field or Discipline

These are some of Gleeson Library article-finding tools that might be particularly useful to legal scholars. Each is devoted to a single discipline. For more choices, see Gleeson Library Databases page (link below).

Sometimes when you use these tools, you'll get a citation, but not the full text. To find the full text of an article when you have the on citation, use the Journal Finder (see below).

Scholarly Articles via the S.F. Public Library

The San Francisco Public Library subcribes to a wide variety of article-finding tools, some of which USF does not have.

Anyone who lives in California can get a San Francisco Public Library card, and have remote access to the S.F. Public Library's online research collection.

A Word About Newspaper Articles

Sometimes you'll need cite newspaper articles to support factual assertions, but it is increasingly a challenge to get exact images of articles as they appeared in print newspapers. For most papers, especially those from small cities, the Zief Law Library no longer makes interlibrary borrowing or copying requests. Instead, we recommend defying the Bluebook, trying to find the article in a news source/database on Westlaw or Lexis, and citing to it in that format.

For a few papers — the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle or the Wall Street Journal — it is possible to get the original print article via microfilm by visiting the Gleeson Library. Also ProQuest has exact digital images of New York Times articles for all but the most recent couple of years, and for the San Francisco Chronicle from 1865 to 1922.

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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