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PLA 3103: Legal Research & Writing: Research Assignment

This guide is dedicated to the Legal Research and Writing course.

Evaluation Criteria

Some things to consider in evaluating all types of sources*:

Currency: Is the information current and up-to-date?

Relevance: Does the information have anything to do with your topic?

Authority: Is it authoritative?

Accuracy: Is reliable and true?

Purpose: Why does the information exist?

Check the acronym.  Did your website pass the CRAAP Test?!

*Criteria adapted from the CRAAP Test, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico


Discovering & Locating Sources

Examples of scholarly materials you might find include articles from Law Reviews, Bar Journals and periodicals, and articles from scholarly journals of other disciplines


Gaining a Broad Overview of Your Topic

Get Started on your Research

Using Google, Yahoo, or Lexis-Nexis, find newspaper or other  general media articles (like Dateline stories or articles in online  news sources) on your topic.   This is an important step in  your research quest, but you should remember the tips from the librarian  regarding how you evaluate the reliability of your sources



Lexis-Nexis Academic



Primary Legal Authorities

Examples of primary legal authority include constitutions,  statutes, and case law. 

Primary Authorities are: 


Court opinions


Administrative Rules and Regulations

Court Rules