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Find Policies and Legal Research: Introduction

Legal Research vs. Scholarly Research

Scholarly research explores a field by reviewing research studies and journal articles that share new findings, theories, analyses, news, or summaries of current knowledge.  These studies and articles are most commonly published in journals that use a peer-review editorial process.

Legal research is generally the process of identifying and finding an answer to a legal question or checking for the legal precedent that can be cited in a brief, trial, memorandum, or public policy. Aside from articles in peer-reviewed law journals, legal documents like briefs, statues, or memorandums are not considered peer-reviewed materials. 

Introduction to finding policy and legal information

There are many ways that Walden faculty and students can access official policy documents and related information. Walden Library provides access to the following two legal databases:‚Äč

Of these databases, Nexis Uni's coverage is more comprehensive, as it provides access to both primary and secondary policy documents, while Gale OneFile: LegalTrac only contains secondary materials.

Note: In the context of legal and policy documents, the term primary denotes the policies themselves, while secondary refers to all other materials related to those policies, such as law reviews and legal encyclopedias.

In addition to Nexis Uni and Gale OneFile: LegalTrac, there are many other freely available resources online. 

  • Take a moment to review the government websites in this guide. 
  • Google Scholar also has a helpful Case Law search option.
  • Keep in mind that older policy documents may not be available online and you may need to visit a Federal Depository Library to access those resources.