Online Legal Research: A Practical Guide for Business Students and Professionals

Jill M. Oeding, Shannon L. Hudson, Jeanette C. Maier-Lytle


This article is intended to be a guide to business students and professionals in locating and assessing online legal information in the United States, providing a brief summary of primary and secondary sources of law and distinguishing between state and federal law as a backdrop to legal research. Researchers are encouraged to perform an online search with a tailored list of descriptive search terms. When evaluating online search results, a researcher should identify quality information based on its authority, accuracy, timeliness, objectivity, and coverage. If possible, online researchers should prefer government websites that provide timely, relevant information when retrieving online legal information. A researcher may begin an online search using secondary sources of law, but a successful search should conclude with the interpretation of primary sources of law.

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