Both primary and secondary resources are used when conducting legal research. Which resource you choose depends on what you are researching.
Primary resources are resources that establish laws.
Primary resources include:
- Municipal codes and ordinances
- Court cases
- Executive orders
For more information and help finding primary sources refer to the appropriate sections in this guide, such as Find Case Law, Find Municipal Ordinances, etc.
Secondary resources discuss and explain laws. Secondary resources may be used to create or interpret, but do not establish laws. They can also be useful for identifying primary sources.
Secondary resources include:
- Legal Encyclopedias
- American Jurisprudence 2d ("AmJur") contains entries that summarize federal and state laws. Listings are alphabetical and contain information that can lead to the primary source.
- Restatements restate the law by synthesizing case law and statutes from across the U.S.
- Restatements can be found in the Nexis Uni Database. See the section, Locate secondary legal materials in Nexis Uni in this guide.
- Treatises are books that discuss a particular legal subject in depth.
- Treatises can be found in the Nexis Uni database. See the section, Locate secondary legal materials in Nexis Uni in this guide.
- Law Journals (Law reviews)
- Law journals cover many legal topics. Like other types of journals they contain articles written by multiple different authors.
- Law journals can be found in the Nexis Uni or in Gale OneFile: LegalTrac databases.
- Top 10 public policy journals.
In order to find secondary sources in the Walden Library see the steps for locating law reviews, journals, and secondary materials located on this page.