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Law - Legal Research Guide: Secondary Sources: Sec. sources - home

Learn how to develop an effective search strategy and then use it to locate relevant secondary sources to support your research for law assignments.

Useful resources

OneSearch and legal databases

Note that OneSearch is NOT able to search within the key legal databases

To find cases, journal articles, or other materials within these databases, you will need to access the databases directly. You can find links to them in OneSearch or on the Law subject guide pages.

Learn more about secondary sources

What are secondary sources?

Common law draws a distinction between primary and secondary sources of law.

Primary sources of law are legislation and case law. Secondary sources are just about everything else, for example:

  • books
  • journal articles
  • legal encyclopaedia
  • Law Reform Commission reports
  • loose-leaf services

Secondary sources interpret and comment upon the law. They are sometimes collectively refered to as legal Commentary.

Why do I need them?

It's pretty obvious really, now that you know what they are. They are great research aids and help you to understand the basics of legal topics. They are also fantastic at providing references to key legislation and leading cases on assignment topics.

Where are they?

Many secondary sources can be found through:

  • OneSearch
  • CMO (Course materials online)
  • Article databases
  • Web search engines can find government reports and conference papers

Use OneSearch to find UWA Library resources

Need more help?