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Legal Research

Find information in various formats related to Business Law, Commercial Law, and the Legal Environment in general.

What is Presearch?

Presearch is a casual expression used among librarians and other smart people to describe a process of preliminary fact-finding, questioning and answering, topic formation, and genuine exploration of a topic. 

Presearch may be necessary to:

  • Orient yourself with key terminology
  • Learn important names, events, etc. that are critical to the development of the phenomena in question
  • Ask secondary questions to deepen your understanding of a topic

The distinction between presearch and research is not necessarily a clear one, as many of the questions you pose and the sources you consult during presearch may very well wind up in your final research project. 

What Can I Use for Presearch?

Sources that are specific to a discipline are often very useful for presearch.

Subject Encyclopedias, such as the following, treat topics in one subject area, not a broad set of subjects like a general encyclopedia like Encyclopdia Britannica.

   West's encyclopedia of American law (2nd floor) Reference Collection

   Encyclopedia of the American Constitution (2nd floor) Reference Collection

Subject encyclopedias may be fairly specific to one segment of a discipline, or one phenomenon, such as the following.

   Encyclopedia of white-collar & corporate crime  (2nd floor) Reference Collection

   The international law dictionary (2nd floor) Reference Collection

Newspaper articles may also serve as a good starting point.  Such articles are written to plainly set froth the facts to general audiences.  This may be helpful to someone unfamiliar with the terminology and nuances of the topic.  Newspaper databases may be found below.



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