Research Tips: Literature Review: Finding Articles

Let’s begin with a helpful video tutorial that explains why you would want to conduct a literature review as the basis for your research paper.

To find everything written on a particular topic, you will want to use the LegalTrac database. This database contains citations to many articles that are not found on Westlaw and Lexis.

 Here is the process I recommend for finding all relevant articles on your topic:

 Step 1: Key Terms

Your search for news, blogs and magazine articles when figuring out your topic should have provided you with many key terms for searching. However, to see how articles on your topic are categorized by librarians, and to see the language used in scholarly articles may differ from that used in news reports, you will want to start by finding one good article on LegalTrac.

 Once you have found that article, you can look at the categories that LegalTrac associates with that article. They will be to the left of the page. Add these terms to your search terms.

 Step 2: Bibliography

Make a list of all of the citations to relevant articles that you found on LegalTrac

 Step 3: Find as many full-text articles as possible

Do searches for articles in the all law reviews databases on Westlaw and Lexis (they carry different journals) also if you need to do social science research, check JSTOR, Google Scholar  and the San Diego Public Library databases (you need an SDPL card to access the databases) . Add any new items that you find to the list of citations

 Step 4: HeinOnline

Look on HeinOnline for items that you found on LegalTrac but are unable to find in the full text databases mentioned above.  

Step 5: Interlibrary loan (ILL)

Ask Hadas Livnat at the library to request for you from another library,  any articles that you cannot find on HeinOnline or any of the previously mentioned databases. Be sure to do this early in the process as it can take over 2 weeks to get an item from another library

 The process is similar for finding relevant books.


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