5 Stages of Legal Research

Haley Zelenka

July 25, 2022

5 Stages of Legal Research - Haley Zelenka

In the Black’s law dictionary, legal research is the process of identifying and gathering authorities. This may include statutes, regulations, and court opinions. Legal research is an essential aspect of the lawyer’s research process. Listed below are five stages of legal research. Each step can be performed independently or as part of a team. Identifying the purpose of your research is the first step. Next, gather relevant information, develop a research plan, and start sampling.

Clarity of purpose

Achieving clarity is a goal that courts often strive to achieve, and there is considerable disagreement over the nature of that goal. As such, several clarity doctrines have developed over the past century. This essay explores various and highlights unappreciated reforms. We also discuss how to mitigate anxieties about clarity doctrines. In the end, we can say that legal research is more effective with clarity.

One way to achieve clarity is by focusing on the nature of the problem. For instance, the approach of clarity as certainty may be more appropriate when accuracy is a priority. In such cases, the approach may consider like-minded interpreters’ viewpoints or accuracy-promoting heuristics. While it may be useful for a given situation, this approach risks morphing into a case-by-case investigation.

Finding relevant information

Legal research is conducted to find resources and relevant information that support a particular legal question or decision. There are three basic elements to legal research. The first stage is identifying the problem or issue and gathering relevant information. This is the basis for knowing which legal authorities apply to the situation. The second stage is to analyze and evaluate the information collected. Finally, a lawyer will choose the appropriate resources to support the legal question in each stage.

The second stage is to find primary sources which contain case law or other legal information about a particular subject. Next, the researcher should research the jurisdiction’s area of law and then generate search terms. These can be general terms or more specific. The next step is to identify the sources of information and narrow them down. Typically, this stage requires reading the primary and secondary sources to uncover relevant material. Finally, the researcher should also research citations to identify relevant rules and legal documents.

Developing a research plan

Developing a research plan is a fundamental step in any legal research project. First, the researcher must identify a specific problem and explore the available research sources. To identify and gather relevant information, the researcher should begin by tracing the main sources, such as standard textbooks, legal periodicals, authoritative comments, and public web pages. Once the researcher has identified relevant primary and secondary authorities, they should identify gaps in the explanations, conceptual issues, and timelines.

Once the researcher has defined the issue, they must identify their knowledge gaps. Next, identify key terms, broad themes, and background areas. These elements will be used to develop the research plan. After this, it’s time to develop a research plan. The next step is to choose a topic. Developing a topic depends on the nature of the research project. The research question should be relevant to the project.

Sampling techniques

Sampling techniques are used to collect data from a sample of subjects and to gather qualitative and quantitative legal research. Qualitative research usually involves using narrative data, not statistical techniques, to study the behaviors and experiences of subjects. A sample of complainants can be used as a representative sample in qualitative research. There are two major types of qualitative legal research: descriptive and quantitative. Descriptive legal research seeks to identify the most relevant information, such as a specific court case. The latter relies on collecting and analyzing qualitative data, usually collected from a small group of subjects.

Two major types of sampling techniques are systematic and random. Random sampling uses a random number generator to select random numbers from a population. For example, a simple random sampling technique would be to select 100 randomly from a company’s database. The data gathered using this technique would then be used to analyze the characteristics of these employees. On the other hand, systematic sampling uses a more systematic approach.

Identifying knowledge gaps

When conducting legal research, it is critical to identify knowledge gaps before you begin your research. Start by jotting down key terms, broad themes, and basic background areas. You may also want to note areas of law unfamiliar to you. Then, as you research, you should revisit these areas and seek additional information to fill in knowledge gaps. Finally, it is important to determine whether you need to consult a legal expert on your topic.

In addition to consulting experts in your field, you may also use digital tools to determine where the gaps are. For example, a website like Essential Science Indicator can identify the most cited papers in a field and influential contributors, publications, and countries. Another tool is Google Trends. You can see which questions people are asking and which ones are most commonl. By identifying where the gaps are, you can determine how to fill them and what resources to acquire.