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Successful Summer Strategies: Research in the Real World: Specific Types of Research

Research in the Real World Starts Here. Use this guide to orient yourself to the world and research environment.

Start with Secondary Sources

Detailed information on particular secondary sources can be found in the Wyoming Legal Research text. Here are some general pointers:

Use at the outset of your research for background on an unfamiliar topic:

  • Treatise or Nutshell
  • Internet Searching - even Wikipedia may provide useful background and links!

Use near the beginning of your research for narrow topics and for citations to primary authorities:

  • Law reviews or other legal periodicals
  • Legal encyclopedias
  • American Law Reports (A.L.R.)

Use for in-depth analysis and scholarly discussion:

  • Treatise
  • Restatements
  • Law reviews

Use for obtaining the most current information on pending appeals, lawsuits, legislative developments:

  • Legal newspapers or current awareness service

Use closer to the end of a research project, to confirm conclusions or refine analysis:

  • Treatise
  • Law reviews, especially if current

Use for expanding a research project to persuasive authority:

  • A.L.R.
  • Legal encyclopedias

It is best if the secondary sources you consult are as up to date as possible. If you have to use an older source, you will need to update both the cites to primary law and the analysis.  If you are online, avoid printing out lengthy documents that may prove to be marginally relevant.  

Library Databases

Regardless of your employer's legal database contract, remember that you still have access to a variety of content available on the law library and the UW Libraries' web pages using your UW student password.  Some good examples of useful databases for summer research are:

  • HeinOnline for law reviews and state and federal legislative information
  • ProQuest Congressional for federal legislative history information
  • Westlaw Campus Access