Skip to Main Content

Introductory Guide to Legal Research


This guide provides information about resources to help you conduct basic legal research. It does not provide legal research services nor should it take the place of a consultation with a licensed attorney in your state. Librarians are available to assist you with using information sources but will not provide legal advice.

Legal Authority

Primary vs. Secondary

Primary legal authority refers to the law. Statutes, court decisions, ordinances, and regulations are all examples of primary legal authority.

Secondary legal authority refers to resources about the law. Law review articles, annotations, treatises, and legal encyclopedias are all examples of secondary legal authority.

Basic Legal Research Strategies: Books at University Libraries