This guide provides an introduction to legal research. It will acquaint new law students, undergraduates, and members of the public with the basic principles of legal research.
In legal research, there are two types of authority: mandatory authority and persuasive authority. The two types are described below.
The Center for Computer Assisted Legal Research (CALI) website contains several interactive lessons on legal research. Use the links below to access these lessons. A username and password are required to access the lessons. Students and faculty should contact the Library for the registration code.
The ultimate goal of legal research is to find the law in order to discover how the law relates to your client or professor's set of facts. Legal issues are often complex, and you may need an auxiliary text to help you understand the area of law you are researching.
There are two types of legal sources: primary law and secondary sources.
Primary law is the law. Primary law is created by one of the three branches of government.
Secondary Sources analyze, discuss, and summarize the law. Secondary sources can also be used to find primary law. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and treatises are all types of secondary sources.
Use the NCCU Law Library's Online Catalog to find more information on a variety of legal topics and issues. The online tutorial below will show how to use the online catalog. Click on the play button to access the video. Click here to go directly to the online catalog.
Below are books on legal research. They contain research tips and explanations of legal resources. Other legal research books are available in the Law Library. To find available books, search the catalog using the subject, Legal research -- United States.
Below are links to other guides on the basics of legal research.