5 Effective Research Strategies for Law Students to Prepare Assignments

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Posted: 6th October 2023 by
Lawyer Monthly
Last updated 16th July 2024
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Stepping into the realm of law school isn't just about cramming laws and regulations into your brain.

It's a journey demanding more than mere memory skills. 

It's about mastering some killer research strategies, not just for academic triumph, but also for building those skills you'll need for a future in the legal world. Let's dive right in and explore five nifty research moves that law students can work with to shine in their assignments.

Cracking the Assignment Code: Unveiling the Map 

At the start of any mission, you have to understand your orders, right? Think of your assignment as a treasure map. Here's how to decode it:

    • Get Close and Personal with the Prompt: Start by reading every tiny detail in the assignment prompt. Words like "analyze," "compare," "argue," or "evaluate" are like your secret clues, showing you where to go.
    • Assignment Variety: Law tasks come in different flavours - case briefs, legal memos, research papers, and moot court briefs. Know the recipe for each one. Case briefs need concise summaries, research papers need deep dives.
    • Dissecting the Prompt: Break down the assignment prompt into its juicy bits. Find those core questions you need to answer. Sometimes, prompts are like a multi-course meal, and you have to taste all of 'em.

Library and Online Treasures: Legal Knowledge Galore 

Researching law is a bit like hunting for treasure in a massive library or on the vast internet sea. Here's how to navigate those treasure chests:

    • Power of Good Sources: The foundation of legal research is sturdy sources. You've got your primary stuff like laws and court decisions, and the secondary gang with legal textbooks and law review articles.
    • Library Guardians: Librarians are your wizards, whether in real libraries or digital ones. They've got the magic to guide you to the right stuff. Their help is like gold when you're searching for those hidden gems.
    • Online Sleuthing Tools: In today's digital age, online resources are like your treasure map. Platforms like Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Google Scholar can lead you to troves of legal gold. You'll find court decisions and academic treasures there.
    • Digging into Databases and Journals: Legal databases and expert legal journals are like treasure chests of wisdom. Your law school probably gives you access to these goldmines. Journals can give you expert insights that make your research shine.

Crafting a Research Blueprint: Plotting the Course 

Just like you'd plan a road trip, a well-thought-out research plan is your GPS to success. Here's how to draw one up:

    • Setting Research Goals: Start by being crystal clear about what you want to achieve and when you want to reach it. A good plan keeps you on track.
    • Crafting Research Questions: Your research questions are like your guiding stars. They'll light up your path and show you where to look.
    • Goal Organization: Sketch out your research goals and organize your study. Tools like research outlines or mind maps can help you track your progress and make sure you cover all the bases.

Keywords and Search Magic: The Art of Precision 

Effective research is all about quickly finding what you need. Keywords and Boolean search techniques are your trusty sidekicks:

    • Mastering Keywords: Keywords are your secret weapons. They're the words that get you to the heart of your topic. Think about what words or phrases nail your subject.
    • Stringing Search Queries: Building search queries is like weaving a web. You use Boolean operators like "AND," "OR," and "NOT" to connect your keywords. So, if you're digging into contract law and damages, your query could be "contract law AND damages."
    • Going Pro with Searches: To get super precise results, explore the advanced search features offered by research tools. Things like proximity searches, wildcards, and truncation can save you loads of time.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources: The Core of Legal Knowledge 

You've got to know your primary from your secondary in legal research:

    • Primary vs. Secondary: Primary sources are the raw materials - actual laws and court decisions. Secondary sources provide the commentary and analysis.
    • Hunting Primary Sources: Primary stuff hides in legal codes, court opinions, and regulations. You have to know the pecking order of legal sources to hunt them down right.
    • Secondary Source Backup: Legal textbooks and law review articles are like your backups. They give context and expert analysis. Plus, they often point you to the primary stuff, making your job easier.
    • Picking Authoritative Sources: Make sure the sources you use are top-notch and up-to-date. Legal research is all about precision, so rely on the best and latest materials. 

If you are limited in time, consider getting ‘do my law assignment’ to collate all the data needed for a solid argument. 

Final Take

Rocking legal research is the key to success in law school. As you navigate the maze of legal studies, these strategies will be your compass, leading you to a successful legal career.

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