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Secondary Sources for Law

A guide to help you locate and use secondary sources for Australian legal research.

Search by topic or subject

1. Use the library's databases to find and review reliable, authoritative resources. 

Some databases include content across disciplines while others are subject specific. The list of Research Databases on the Law Library website will help determine which databases are relevant to your topic. 

2. Identify keywords, subject terms or topics within databases and publications.

Most databases organise content by subject terms and/or topics. Use the databases's Browse options to identify and use these to find relevant material. The headnotes of  journal articles within databases are also useful for identifying relevant keywords. As searching by subject terms might limit your search, it's good practice to also run keyword searches. 

3. Record the subject terms and keywords you have used to search different databases.

Build up a list of keywords as you research, and use these to re-run searches across multiple databases. Note down the terms you have used across the different databases to keep track of your research. 

Summary of search techniques across different platforms:

For more information about journal databases for the subject area you are interested in, the Research Guides collection for each topic or jurisdiction will include essential journal databases. Alternatively, check the Research Databases by Type (Journal Articles) for a list of recommended sources.