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Legal Research Methodology

This exercise is designed to help law students develop their abilities to handle legal research assignments. Students who have some experience doing legal research or who have completed their first year legal research course will benefit the most. However, these lessons may be used to supplement the learning process for students studying legal research for the first time.

A series of tutorials lead students through situations and problems commonly given to new attorneys and student interns. Each section contains questions that test the students' responses to different situations and their understanding of the reasons behind legal research. Throughout the exercise additional information about such topics as legal ethics, malpractice, and legal bibliography is weaved into the questions through pop-up windows. Responses to particular questions may draw students into a mini-lesson, further testing their comprehension and expanding their viewpoints. The exercise begins with Brain Storming where students learn to interpret and analyze research assignments. Developing a Query Statement underscores the need to lucidly define research issues and create a list of search terms. In Documentation, students discover the benefits and necessity of keeping a research log. The techniques of strategic analysis, cost-effective research, and updating are covered in Research Process. Finally, there are a series of questions in Finishing Research that focus on learning when-to-stop. The exercises use realistic research problems and demand that students begin to think logically and practically about legal research.

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