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Scholarly Writing

This guide shows you how to find and develop a paper topic, do a preemption check, and meet your CWSL scholarly writing requirement.

Use your notes on the stories and concepts that you found interesting in the Find a Topic section to identify keywords relevant to your topic that you can use to search various resources to develop a paper.

Legal Research Platforms

Use the keywords you identified to search Bloomberg, Lexis, and Westlaw. If your topic goes beyond the law into other areas (E.G. business, economics, sociology, etc.), then other research platforms and databases might be more appropriate for you. Ask your professor and at the Reference Desk so that we can assist you.

  • Limit to secondary sources to see what has been discussed and different angles used on your topic.
  • Limit to cases, and look for West Topic and Key Numbers that could help you narrow to only cases on your topic. (Consider asking at the reference desk for assistance on this.)

Search Alerts: Keep Current as New Sources Emerge

  • Alerts on Bloomberg Law, Lexis, and Westlaw help update you with the latest new sources on your topic by informing as soon as any new results are generated from a search that you enter as an alert.
  • Create an alert from any search by accessing the alert screen by clicking on icon of a bell . In Bloomberg Law the bell icon is accessed from the “Select Sources” menu next to the main search box. In Lexis and Westlaw the icon is at the top of the list of search results.
  • Periodical indexes also have search alerts to let you know when when articles related to your topic have are added to the index.

See a Reference Librarian with questions on the above.

Relevant Articles

Check out this larger list of databases to find articles. If any look relevant to your topic, then use it to search for relevant articles. If you have any trouble, then contact a Reference Librarian.

Relevant Books & Journals

Finding books relevant to your topic can be more challenging than finding articles. Hwever, once you are familiar with the core concepts on your topic and the typical keywords used to describe those concepts from you previous research, then you will be well-prepared to search for relevant books.

Ask a reference librarian so that we can show you the power of using an index like the Library of Congress' Subject Headings. This will let you how to be confident that you have found every single book of a give subject.

Note that if you find a book on Worldcat below that is not available at the library, then it's likely that a reference librarian will be able to find it at another library in San Diego that will permit you to access the book. A reference librarian could also evaluate the matter and determine if it's appropriate for the library to arrange to get you access to the book as well.

Google Book Search