Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Legal Research Demystified: A Step-by-Step Approach (Table of Contents and Chapter 5 on Research Plans) by Eric Voigt

Legal Research Demystified: A Step-by-Step Approach (Table of Contents and Chapter 5 on Research Plans) by Eric Voigt.


Legal Research Demystified guides first-year law students through eight steps to research common law issues and ten steps to research statutory issues. It breaks down the research process into “bite-size” pieces for novice researchers, minimizing the frustration associated with learning new skills. Every chapter includes charts, diagrams, and screen captures to illustrate the research steps and finding tools. Each chapter concludes with a summary of key points that reinforces important concepts from the chapter.

The process of legal research, of course, is not linear. This textbook constantly reminds students of the recursive nature of legal research, and it identifies specific situations when students may deviate from the research steps.

Legal Research Demystified differs from existing research textbooks in several aspects. This textbook (1) sets forth eight methods to identify and retrieve relevant secondary sources; (2) contains a chart identifying binding cases in almost every situation (e.g., state law issue in federal court); (3) discusses in detail how to find cases by topic on Lexis Advance; (4) sets forth six methods to find cases that interpret and apply relevant statutes; (5) includes an entire chapter on confirming the validity of relevant statutes, determining effective dates, and identifying the text of all amendments; (6) has a chapter devoted to reading relevant statutes critically; (7) explains in detail the differences between using citators for cases and statutes; and (8) has three chapters on finding persuasive authorities for common law and statutory issues.

This book’s companion website, Core Knowledge, provides professors with multiple assessment tools. Students can answer true-false and multiple-choice questions on Core Knowledge to test their understanding of every chapter. Students will receive immediate feedback. Additionally, students can complete interactive research exercises on Core Knowledge. These self-grading online exercises walk students through the research steps on Westlaw and Lexis Advance, giving professors the option to “flip” the classroom.

(Scott Fruehwald)

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