Legal Research and Writing Research Guide

Selected Library Resources


Articles on the law or on legal topics can also be selected in the Lexis Nexis Academic or WestLaw Next database, or the New Jersey Law Journal. Subject-specific databases that may be of special interest include Criminal Justice Abstracts with Full Text and the Praeger Security International Online database. CQ Researcher and Legal Information Research Center, may also cover relevant topics.



Westlaw Next is available on the FDU Online Library under the headings of Multi-disciplinary Databases,  Business, Economics & Management and Government, Law & Public Policy.

Content  is able to be searched on both a Federal and State Level. General practice area can also be selected.

Choosing “Advanced search” allows searching by terms,  citation number and case title.


  From the list of search results, certain documents will show a small colored flag next to the entry. These flags will alert to negative references or events that have impacted the validity of that document. Clicking on the “Powered by KeyCite” tab at the top of the screen will bring up the following explanation:

              “A yellow flag indicates a document has some negative treatment.


              A red flag indicates a document is no longer good law for at least one point of law.


A blue-striped flag indicates a document has been appealed to the U.S. Courts of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court (excluding appeals originating from agencies).”




Clicking on the flag will bring you to the related document. When you access the original document, the name of the related document will appear at the top of the screen.   It is hyperlinked and will take you to that document when clicked.

A guide to Westlaw is available at



Lexis Nexis Academic  also makes it possible to search legal cases.

At the bottom of the main screen, there is a search box titled “Look Up a Legal Case”

Opening this allows you to search by citation, parties or topics.

The list of cases can be narrowed by state or publication name on the left side of the screen.


Once a document is opened, it can be Shepardized by clicking on the box entitled “Next Steps” on the upper right side. The dropdown box will allow you to choose “More Like This” or “Shepardize”. Choose Shepardize and click “Go”. It will bring you to the related documents.  

After bringing up the related articles, the screen will have a legend at the bottom explaining the various signals.



Google Scholar allows cases to be searched. At the bottom of the main screen, select “Case Law” and enter your terms. You can then select the court which you are researching.

Results can be limited by date and also sort by relevance.   Below each entry is listed the number of times a case has been cited.   Clicking on that will list the cases which have cited the original case. To the left of the entry will be horizontal bars which will indicate the degree of relevance which the case bears to the original. Three bars has the greatest relevance and one bar the least.


Selected Web Resources


ABA Free Full-Text Online Law Review/Journal Search

Cornell University Legal Information Institute.


Google Scholar.


National Center for State Courts.

The Public Library of Law.

Ten Tips for Better Legal Writing.

How to Shepardize a Case: 13 Steps (with Pictures)



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