One of the most important yet challenging aspects of writing a research paper is selecting an appropriate topic. When selecting a topic, make sure that it is interesting to you and your audience, well-defined, manageable, novel and worthy of publication. If you need help finding a research topic, you can start by:
The Law Library has numerous resources listed on this page to assist you in selecting your topic. If you get stuck or need customised advice, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A common approach to finding a topic is to focus on a case that raises a novel issue of law. To find these cases, search for legal developments (see Legal Developments) or browse recent cases before the Australian High Court or highest appellate court in other countries.
The following blogs also contain valuable information about High Court/Supreme Court decisions:
Another common approach to finding a research topic is to examine an unresolved legal issue. Unresolved legal issues can occur when courts have split in their interpretation of the law, leaving the ultimate meaning of the law unresolved. In the United States, this is known as a 'circuit split' because it is based on federal circuit courts interpreting the same legal issue differently. These sorts of issues are ripe for appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.
A research topic may describe the split, identify any issues that may be influencing the courts, and propose a way to distinguish the situations or resolve the discrepancy. These topics can be very timely and relevant. However, if the discrepancy is resolved before your paper is completed, the topic can be rendered entirely obsolete. Because these topics are so popular in the United States, there are resources dedicated solely to tracking circuit splits, including the following: