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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.

Why Treatises & Other Scholarly Books Are Helpful

Treatises (extensive overviews of an area of law, often with a scholarly slant) and other, shorter scholarly books can help you:

  • Solidify your grasp of the overall framework in which your topic fits.
  • Identify principles, rules, trends.
  • Find more research leads (to cases and statutes, and perhaps also to more articles, books, and other scholarship).

Finding Leading Treatises

These guides list treatises and similar books for many areas of law. They typically say whether the treatises are available on Lexis or Westlaw, and give the shelving locations for print copies in the libraries that wrote the guides. To see if USF has treatises listed on the guides published by other libraries, use Ignacio, or ask a Zief research librarian.

Finding Scholarly Books at USF - Ignacio

Ignacio searches broad descriptions of books. These are just a few examples of Ignacio keyword searches for legal topics:

"insider trading" law
"first amendment" religio*
"fundamental rights" united states
energy law
"family law" comparative
"discrimination in employment" "law and legislation"
"european union" law environment*
"european union" law employ*
"human rights" europ*

To further refine your Ignacio search results, select "Law Stacks" from the "Location" options on the left-hand side of the results screen.

Finding Scholarly Books Worldwide — WorldCat

To find scholarly books worldwide, try WorldCat.

WorldCat searches broad descriptions of books. Here are some examples of WorldCat keyword searches for books on legal topics:

"dispute resolution" indigenous
family leave law
police interrogation law
copyright comparative
"european union" and "intellectual property" and reform*

For even more flexible searching, try WorldCat Advanced Search.

In WorldCat Advanced Search, try "Subject" searches, which can be very thorough and powerful. (You can combine "Subject" searches with key words and can narrow your search in a number of ways.) Here are some examples of Subject searches:

"Intellectual property" "European Union countries"
Discrimination "European Union countries"

Finding Books Worldwide — Google Books

Find books by searching the full text of books using Google Books.

Because Google Books searches the full text, you can often get good results with more narrow, specific searches than would be useful in Doncore or WorldCat — searches such as:

"eminent domain" "public use" kelo
"digital rights management" "fair use"
"rational basis with bite"
"age discrimination"
"part time" work "comparative law"
"european union" law climate change carbon trading
"european union" privacy databases

With Advanced Search, you can search by author and title, and limit by publication date.

Finding Dissertations

A dissertation on some aspect of your topic will be meticulously researched and will cite to other useful, books, articles, statistical sources, etc.

Interlibrary Borrowing

If the USF libraries don't have a book or an article you need, we can arrange to borrow books or get copies of articles for you from another library.

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