Skip to Main Content

PSYC 5306 Assignment Resources: Week 8 Assignment


For this assignment, you are required to research ethical challenges related to issues of confidentiality in relation to the Tarasoff decision (see your Week 4 Resources in Blackboard).

This guide will help you develop the skills needed to find case law or statutes related to duty to warn or duty to protect using the library database LexisNexis Academic.

By the end of this guide, you will  be able to:

  • differentiate case law and statutes
  • use links and limits in LexisNexis Academic to narrow search to laws or statutes for specific location
  • conduct a search in LexisNexis Academic to locate local laws or statutes
  • locate case law using Google Scholar

More Information

Find statutes in LexisNexis

Statutes are written laws that have been passed by legislative bodies. Use the following steps to locate information on state statutes and regulations.

1. On the Library homepage, click on Databases A-Z. 

2. Click on and scroll down to LexisNexis Academic and click on the link.

Log in with your myWalden email and password. 

3.  Click Search by Content Type then click State Statutes and Regulations.



4.  In the search box enter: "duty to warn" OR "duty to protect" OR "duty to report"




Note: The quotes tell the database that you want exactly those terms you have entered.

5. Click the arrow next to Advanced Options


6. Select Statutory CodeSelect your state from the list that pops up.



7. Click Apply.

8. Click Search.

9. You can attempt to narrow your results even further by using one of the terms below and entering the term into the search box next to Search within results:

  • Psychotherapist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Tarasoff
  • Mental health

Search within results


10. When you view an article, the terms that you searched for will show in red text as in the example below.


Find case law in LexisNexis

States that do not have statutes addressing duty to warn or duty to protect will frequently have case laws that have set standards. Case laws are laws which are based on the decisions that have been made in past cases. Keep in mind, these case laws may involve professions or situations other than mental health.

For this search, begin by following steps 1-2 in Finding Statutes in LexisNexis.


1. Click Search by Content Type then click Federal and State Cases


Federal and state cases


2. In the search box enter: "duty to warn" OR "duty to protect" OR "duty to report"



3. Click the arrow next to Advanced Options

4. Select your state from the list



5. Click Apply

6. Click Search

7. You can attempt to narrow your results even further by searching within your results again using one of the terms below:

  • Psychotherapist
  • Mental health
  • Psychiatrist
  • Tarasoff

Find case law in Google Scholar

Google Scholar will also allow you to search case laws. Please note that Google Scholar is limited to case law and may not provide direct history of a case. The following steps will walk you through the process.

1. Go to Google Scholar.

2. Under the search box click  Case law and then click Select courts.



3. From the list that appears, click the check mark boxes next to your state and the corresponding courts. Then click Done.



4. You will now be directed to the search box. Type in the suggested keywords below related to your topic. Click Search and explore your results.

Suggested keywords:

 "duty to warn" OR "duty to protect" OR "duty to report"



5. Using the Limiters on the left side of the page, you can narrow your results further by date, jurisdiction, etc.



More Information

Search suggestions for international students

Your assignment indicates that you may, "summarize your region’s case law and statutes as they relate to 'duty to warn' and/or 'duty to protect.' For your search, you will want to try a basic search in Google.


1. Go to Google.

2. Type your search terms in the search box. Click Search.

For example, if you are in Istanbul, you could search for 'duty to warn' OR “duty to protect"  OR  "duty to report" AND Istanbul.



3. Look for a site that contains your country's internet code. For example, for Kenya, or .org.

Tip: Unfortunately there is not one search that will work for each country as each country is unique.  If your country uses language different from duty to warn and/or duty to protect or duty to report, use that language in your search instead

Please speak with your instructor if you are unable to locate laws in your location