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- Law and Justice Databases
The purpose of this guide is to recommend print and electronic resources for conducting research in Law and Justice in the Library. Click on the links on the left for suggestions about starting your research, getting books and articles, and finding other useful tools for research in Law and Justice.
To learn more about the library and its resources and how you can exploit them to your advantage, register in the Research Skills Tutorial on D2L. There are several sections in the tutorial with a short quiz at the end of each; at the end you will receive a Certificate of Completion. Many professors require you to take this tutorial--and once you finish it, you can save your certificate to reprint as often as necessary.
In the fall, the library hosts live Orientation tours as well as Zotero classes which you can sign up for at the library's entrance, and even after the formal schedule is finished, we are very happy to put on special classes at the request of at least 5 students. If you would like to arrange a special class, or you think your course would benefit from some in-class library instruction, please ask your professor to contact the librarian responsible for your faculty to set up some sessions.
Help with a Paper
In the library: The Library User Assistance Desk to your immediate left as you enter the library is a good place to start.
By email: Email the librarian responsible for your faculty for a reply during regular working hours.
By telephone: 705-675-4803, or toll free at 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2
For Distance Education students: Telephone: 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick Tips on Preparing for Research
Before you start:
- understand the key terms you may be using as well as the general area that interests you;
- think about ways to narrow your topic, making it as specific as possible (unless you have been given a specific topic to research!);
- create a thesis statement;
- list the main concepts (key words) included in your thesis statement (research question), then based on your readings;
- find as many synonyms as you can for each main concept. You are now ready to start searching in the library's catalogue and databases.
When you are looking for definitions or if you don’t know much about a specific subject, reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias become invaluable because they contain relatively short—and understandable—articles. These articles often lay out the parameters of a subject and can assist you in trying to narrow your topic. Often such articles are accompanied by lists of readings (bibliographies) which allow you to explore your topic further.
The best general encyclopedia is: Encyclopedia Britannnica.
- Canadian Law
- Canadian Law: Duhaime's Law Dictionary Under "Legal Reference" at top of screen, click on Law Dictionary Index.
- US and UK Law: TheFreeDictionary
Why Use Books?
- Books are extremely valuable resources when doing in-depth research on a topic! Authors have hundreds of pages to give detailed explanations and background information surrounding the various facets of your research interest.
- Using this kind of in-depth information will make it easier to form a research question or thesis statement (or even spark your inspiration)
- The bibliographies found in books are extensive, and will point you to other resources to add to your own resource list.
- Remember: scholars write journal articles under the assumption that you already have a relatively thorough understanding of the topic – this means that you will likely not find the foundational information needed for your topic in the beginning stages of your research process. In this sense, books become indispensable
Searching the Catalogue
The catalogue is your primary tool for finding books in the J.N. Desmarais Library. You can also use the catalogue to find other materials, including government publications and journals (the journals themselves--not individual articles).
You can search the catalogue by:
- Journal Title
When you know the book you are searching for, pick Title or Author; when you are searching for a topic, start with Keyword unless you know the exact Subject heading describing your topic.
More on searching the Catalogue is available in Module 5 of the Research Skills Tutorial in D2L.
E-books are located in two different places:
- Some may be located by using the library’s catalogue. These records will have [electronic resource] in the title.
- E-books can also be located by searching in e-book collections. Searching in these collections is the same as searching in a database.
In addition to books, you may wish to search for book-length Master's theses or Ph.D dissertations.
Best bet: Dissertations and Theses (ProQuest).
If you are also looking for recent theses or dissertations produced by Laurentian graduates, check out our Research Repository - LUZONE. Note that since 2013, before graduation all Masters and Doctoral candidates MUST deposit their theses or dissertations in this repository.
If you need to find an article--and you have the full journal citation--then you can often get to it quickly using Electronic Journals (A-Z). Type in the name of the journal, click on the correct journal name, click on the appropriate year / volume / issue, then find your article on the list by starting page number. Please note that you cannot use the A-Z list to search by subject or by article title--the list only supplies access to known electronic journal titles.
Articles: Quick Tips
The databases to the right provide references to many scholarly journal articles and papers.
- Start off with keyword searches expressing your topic. Keyword searching crosses all fields.
- Use Search Operators such as "OR" and "AND" to expand or reduce your results.
- Review those items that look relevant, then, exploit the details within those entries to help lead you to other relevant articles.
- Pay attention to the subject headings (often called "descriptors") to see how the database describes your topic and use them to find related articles.
- Find other papers written by the same author; these will typically be on similar subjects.
- Follow citation trails: other articles that have cited this article will probably be on a related subject and will include citations to other articles of interest.
- For more Secrets of Searching a Database, review that section in How to Research Like a Librarian.
Peer Review is the evaluation of creative work by scholars in the same field in order to maintain or enhance the quality of the work in that field.
In the case of peer reviewed journals, which are usually academic, peer review generally refers to the evaluation of the articles in them prior to publication. For more, check out this definition of peer review.
- To ascertain whether a journal is peer reviewed, consult Ulrichsweb.
When researching a paper, it is useful to consult the citations used by the author of an article that you find relevant. But that article itself may have been cited by other authors after it was first written. Two sources help you identify such citations:
Getting Articles @ Laurentian
In any database, when you see an article that interests you, click on it and, unless the article is available within the database itself, within the record you will see an image that says "Get it @ Laurentian":
When you click on that, you will arrive at a menu which will lead to an electronic copy of the article you want, or, if not available electronically, to Laurentian's catalogue which will allow you to check if the article is available in print in the library, and if not, to a final link which allows you to order the item through Interlibrary loan.
Use the on-line catalogue to find hard copy holdings (e.g. Supreme Court Reports, Ontario Reports, Canadian Criminal Cases, Reports of Family Law, Canadian Rights Reporter, Canadian Human Rights Reporter, Labour Arbitration Cases, Canadian Labour Law Reports.)
CanLII provides access to primary Canadian legal material by jurisdiction, federal and provincial, including the full text of judgements as issued by courts, as well as a large number of Boards and Tribunals. To determine how far back judgements exist for each court or tribunal click on any jurisdiction in the left menu, then click Scope of Databases. To search the judgments again click on a jurisdiction, and a search dialogue will appear at the top.
Lexis-Nexis Academic (Quicklaw)
Court cases since 1876. To find, click on "Search by Content Type>" and then under "International Legal" choose Canadian Cases.
- U.S. Supreme Court decisions from January 1790 to present, searchable by majority opinion, minority opinion, concurring opinion, counsel, or headnotes
- U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions
- U.S. District Court decisions from 1789 to present
- Decisions from Bankruptcy Courts; U.S. Court of International Trade; Tax Courts; Courts of Customs and Patent Appeals, and Veterans, Commerce, and Military Courts
- State court decisions at all court levels for all 50 states and territories
For US federal and state law, click on US Legal and then Federal and State Cases as in:
UK and Other Jurisdictions
Includes English Reports, Full-Reprint (1220-1867). This collection contains over 100,000 cases, representative of 265 separate series of Reports,arranged by Courts.
Includes cases from most Commonwealth countrties.
UK Cases cover from 1558 through current and include
- All England Law Reports Reprints from 1558 (when available),
- ICLR Law Reports from 1865,
- All England Law Reports from 1936 and other law reports from 1945.
- Scottish reported cases from 1982 and
- Northern Ireland cases from 1945.
- Unreported cases from England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 1980.
To access click on International Legal, then EU, Commonwealth, and Other Nations as in
and then when in this section, tick off desired collection
CanLII provides access to primary Canadian legal material by jurisdiction, federal and provincial, including current legislation and regulations.
Current legislation plus earlier legislation (from mid 1980s) from Canada, B.C., Alberta and Ontario. Regulations also available. To find, click on Search by Content Type/ International Legal / Canadian Legislation as in
US and Other Jurisdictions
In Hein Online, the Session Laws Library provides access to federal legislation not only from Canada (1792 to within a year or so), but to Australia (1901 to a year or two), the Bahamas (1968-1996), the United States (1789 to three years ago) and to all states (19th, 20th and 21st centuries).
Get the most current US law by clicking on Search by Content / Legal / and then, deparending upon your requirements, Federal Statutes, Codes & Regulations, or State Statutes, Codes & Regulations. See screen shot opposite.
Need a Film Not in Laurentian's Online Film Collections?
Consult: Watmedia (Provincial Multi-media Catalogue). Material held by Laurentian may be signed out in the library. To order a film not available at Laurentian, please email LUFilmLibrary@laurentian.ca and specify the date(s) you require the item.
Questions: Please contact Ashley Thomson who manages the Intrafilm Project.
- Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research. A fabulous resource--literally the best
- Canadian Legal Research (Harvard Law School)
- Doing Legal Research in Canada An introduction to the topic written from the perspective of an American.
- Guide to Law On-Line Prepared by the Library of Congress
Citation Styles in Laurentian's Law and Justice Program
At Laurentian, your professor will specify the citation style to be used. In Law and Justice, it is often Chicago but you might also be asked to use APA or MLA. The library has an online guide for the various citation styles. The standard resource for legal citation is:
Canadian guide to uniform legal citation. 8th ed. 2014. Also known as The McGill Guide.
Other Guides to Legal Citation and Research
Canadian legal research and writing guide. Open access ebook.
Cardiff index to legal abbreviations. Open access international index of short forms.
Zotero is a free, web-based citation manager that allows you to:
- Directly import references from article databases, the library catalogue, e-book collections, etc.
- Manage and organize your references.
- Create a bibliography.
- Share your references with others
- Add in-text citation and a bibliography directly into your assignment
Getting started with Zotero:
- Sign up for library workshops when available.
- View Quick Start Guide (video) or Tutorials (videos)
- Consult one of Zotero's own User Guides or McMaster University's Quick Start Guide or the Zotero Guide by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Some items are licensed for use by members of the Laurentian University community; use by others may be restricted.
are available to Laurentian University members who wish to use licensed products from off campus.
= Recommended Starting Database
- Index to Canadian Legal Periodical Literature (In Print - 2nd Floor: INDEX K 33 I53)
- Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective, 1908-1981
- Lexis-Nexis Academic (includes Quicklaw)
- Canadian Business and Current Affairs
- Canadian Newsstand
- Canadian Periodical Index
- Canadian Publishers Collection
- Criminal Justice Collection
- Dissertations and Theses (Proquest)
- Eureka.cc (Biblio Branchée)
- FRANCIS (International Humanities and Social Studies)
- National Criminal Justice Reference Service Database
- Old Bailey Online
- Ontario Scholars Portal
- PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service)
- Philosopher's Index
- Sage Publications
- Social Sciences Citation Index
- Social Sciences Index Retrospective, 1907-1984
- Sociological Abstracts
- CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute)
- Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute
- Guide to Law On-Line
- Law and Justice WWW (Laurentian)
- World Legal Information Institute
- Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation ( REF KE 259 C35 2006)
- Queen's Guide to Legal Citation