Skip to main content

Finding Foreign Law at the Gould Law Library: Research Rules

Five Research Rules

When researching foreign law (or anything else, for that matter), there are five simple—but important—rules that I have found to be helpful:

 

1. Plan – write your plan on paper (or at least think it through in your mind) before you start; saves time and money; have a plan so you know where you are going

 

2. Think time, money, and resources – be mindful of how much resources cost (esp.online resources); learn which resources are available so you can exploit them

 

3. Use context – learn important jargon of research problem; get as much background as possible; use secondary sources (i.e., “context” tools)

 

4. Find someone who has already done the work for you – groups that care about your issue; never redo what has already been done

 

 5. Know when to stop – when time runs out; when you start to circle around or see the same things over and over again; sometimes there is no definitive answer or magic case/statute; have confidence in your research skills

Five Research Rules

When researching foreign law (or anything else, for that matter), there are five simple—but important—rules* that I have found to be helpful:

1. Plan – write your plan on paper (or at least think it through in your mind) before you start; saves time and money; have a plan so you know where you are going

2. Think time, money, and resources – be mindful of how much resources cost (esp. online resources); learn which resources are available so you can exploit them

3. Use context – learn important jargon of research problem; get as much background as possible; use secondary sources (i.e., “context” tools)

4. Find someone who has already done the work for you – groups that care about your issue; never redo what has already been done

5. Know when to stop – when time runs out; when you start to circle around or see the same things over and over again; sometimes there is no definitive answer or magic case/statute; have confidence in your research skills 

* For more on these, watch the informative and engaging disc 2 of Berring on Legal Research: Deep Principles for Researching and Understanding the Law, chapter selection 11 [Reserves KF240. B4683 2006].