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Getting Started in Research for a Thesis

This guide will help law PhD and MPhil students to begin their legal research using the University Library's resources

The Research Cycle Steps 

Below is a diagram describing the five steps of research cycle to demonstrate the process you are going to embark.

Summary of the Five Steps 

  1. Planning: Understand the research questions. identify key legal concepts. Think about scope, coverage and currency. Read also our guide on Selecting and Developing a Legal Research Topic.
  2. Identify: identify the most relevant resource types: primary and secondary resources, eg. make sure that the primary materials still good law.
  3. Locate: Locate the information, hardcopy books and online resources. Refine your results when using online databases.
  4. Evaluate: Check information for authority, reliability, relevance, currency, objectivity, audience, impact and accuracy.
  5. Document: Keep a record of search terms and strategies, databases used and number of results. 

This guide also touches on your digital imprint as a researcher. It is a good idea to start creating your Researcher Profile, unless you have already done so. 

Law Library Basics

Online Training Program for Graduate Research Students

Develop the skills you need to draft your research data management plan, start your Managing Data @Melbourne six module online training now.

Six module training program for Data Management