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Paper Topic Selection and Development Guide: Developing an Argument through Commentary

This guide is designed to help law students select and research a topic for their upper level writing requirement.

Find a Source

To search for an electronic version of a journal across many of the library’s subscription databases,  click on the Find a Source link from the SARA catalog. From this page, you can type the title of a journal in the search box and retrieve a list of the different databases that publish that journal, along with the coverage dates.  

For example if you were to search for the title, Tobacco Control, your result list will show you that the databases, PubMed Central, JSTOR, Health and Wellness Resource Center, Health Reference Center Academic and Proquest Central carry the title.  You will also see the coverage dates for the various databases.  For example, JSTOR contains issues of Tobacco Control dating from 1992 to 2016.  This search capability will aid those researchers who need to cite check.

How to Use Commentary

Whether it is a treatise available online, like McCarthy on Trademarks and Unfair Competition, or a print version of the Restatement on Torts, legal commentaries, also known as secondary sources, are great tools.  This is because legal commentary not only explains the law (both the current understanding of the law and often the law's historical development), but also highlights and explains the leading cases, controlling statutes and regulations.  There are many different types of legal commentaries including looseleaf services, treatises, law review and journal articles, and the Restatements/Model Codes. 


OneSearch allows a researcher to search across the library's electronic resources from one simple interface. 

Tip:  Sort your results by date, title, or source.

Tip:  Refine your results by topic, date, or title.

To access the “OneSearch,” go to library's webpage and run a search in the box located near the top of the screen.

This great tool is a one stop shop that simplifies and consolidates the process of research. For example, if you were to do a keyword search for “'climate change' and 'government policy'” combined with a subject filter for “environmental policy" and then further limit your results to full text academic journals within the United States, you retrieve 193 results.  The results come from a variety of databases, including Heinonline, Ebsco Databases, and JSTOR. This is a much more efficient way to research rather than searching within each individual database to determine what it contains on a given topic.

Note: If you are researching off campus, you need to first implement the BLS Proxy Instructions in order to link directly to the sources identified.  You can access the BLS Proxy Instructions from the Library's main page.