Skip to Main Content

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 to access official policy, legal documents, and related information. Walden Library provides access to two legal databases:

To access the databases from the library website use the Databases A-Z link where you can locate databases by name or by topic.

In Nexis Uni you will find both primary and secondary documents. Gale OneFile:LegalTrac only contains secondary documents.


Our databases are not the only way to find policy and legal information.

  • Take a moment to review the government websites in this guide.

  • Google Scholar also has a helpful Case Law search option.

  • Older policy documents may not be available online. To access those resources, you may need to visit a Federal Depository Library.

Video: Nexis Uni: Introduction

(4 min 55 sec) Recorded June 2022

Video: Nexis Uni: Create a Shepard’s report

(4 min 21 sec) Recorded June 2022