As you have learned throughout this week, secondary sources describe and interpret the law. They also provide citations to relevant primary authority. Secondary sources vary in their depth and coverage of legal topics. In some cases, secondary resources summarize a legal issue very broadly (as in law dictionaries and encyclopedias); others, such as treatises, restatements, and journals, are very in-depth and specific in their coverage. Keep in mind that many legal issues are complex and require multiple secondary sources. Thus, it may be necessary for a researcher to utilize many sources in order to gain complete familiarity with a policy or legal issue.

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To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review Chapter 5 in your course text, Legal Research Methods. Consider the types of secondary resources available to researchers.
  • Review Chapters 10, 11, and 12 in your course text, Principles of Legal Research. Reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of secondary resources such as encyclopedias, periodicals, and reference resources.
  • Reflect on the policy issue that you selected for the Application Assignment this week.
  • Consider the strengths and weaknesses of secondary resources for researching the issue that you selected.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4 a brief description of the policy issue that you selected for the Application Assignment this week. Then explain at least two strengths and two limitations of secondary resources as they relate to researching the issue you selected. Be specific.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

• Ask a probing question.

• Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.

• Offer and support an opinion.

• Validate an idea with your own experience.

• Make a suggestion.

• Expand on your colleague’s posting.

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