Skip to Main Content
my account

Legal Research Resources for Beginners

This research guide provides basic information about the types of legal research resources and when to use them.

Finding a Starting Place for Your Research

Below are some common research scenarios and suggestions for starting points in your legal research. If you do not see your situation described or if you still have questions, please feel free to contact our librarians for advice on how to get started. You can reach our librarians via our Ask a Librarian webpage.

Common research scenarios

I just need to know what the law says - or what it used to say.


I need a basic understanding of a legal concept.


I need to find cases on a certain topic.


I need a thorough explanation and analysis of an area of law.


I need advice about what to do, but I don't want an attorney.


I need to know what forms to file.


I have a general area of law I want to research, but I don't know where to start.


I need to know the latest developments in a field of law.


I need to know about a certain agency's responsibility for enforcing the law