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LAW 120: Getting Started

Getting Started

Before you Begin: Know the Assignment

  • What length is your final paper supposed to be?
  • How many resources are required?
  • What types of resources are required?
    • A legal periodical? A legal treatise? A case? A statute?
  • When is the assignment due?

Before Searching:  Develop a Strategy

  • PRE-search several topics that you are interested in to see what kind of information is available. Will there be enough to support the assignment requirements?
  • Is there a way to narrow or expand your topic using keywords? These will become your search terms.
    Example Thesis: "The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) needs to be updated to protect the privacy of customer data from collection agencies using the internet and mobile technologies."
    Example Keywords: "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act", FDCPA, Privacy, Collection Agencies, Technologies
  • Brainstorm additional search terms by finding words with similar meanings.
    Example 1, Keyword "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" OR FDCPA
    Example 2, Keywords "Collection Agencies" OR "debt collection" OR "debt remediation" OR "debt recovery"
    Example 3, Keyword "Privacy" OR "consumer protection"

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