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Research and Writing Strategy for a Seminar Paper. Theories of Justice Seminar April 2010 Mary Whisner. It’s very simple:. Not so simple, really:. Strategy: Typical Legal Problem. Preliminary analysis (issue, parties, jurisdiction, keywords, secondary sources)

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Research and Writing Strategy for a Seminar Paper

Theories of Justice Seminar

April 2010

Mary Whisner


It’s very simple:


Not so simple, really:


Strategy: Typical Legal Problem

  • Preliminary analysis (issue, parties, jurisdiction, keywords, secondary sources)

  • Statutes (plus regs, ordinances)

  • Mandatory precedent

  • Persuasive precedent

  • Refine, update, doublecheck


How Might a Theory Paper Differ?

  • Questions

  • Purpose

  • Sources

  • Thoroughness

  • Currentness

  • Style


State a Thesis(Even Tentatively)

E.g.,

Recent Supreme Court opinions on affirmative action in education and busing in public schools illustrate competing visions of fairness. Applying theories of Rawls and Nozick can help us understand the tension.


Form a Plan

Write questions you hope to answer with research:

  • What are recent S.Ct. cases re affirmative action in education?

  • What rationales do justices apply?

  • How do l. rev. articles analyze fairness issues?

  • How about philosophy or public policy articles?


Plan How You’ll Look

  • Already have citations for S. Ct. cases; just need to retrieve and read.

  • Law review articles:

    • KeyCite or Shepardize cases; restrict to law review articles with key terms

    • LegalTrac

    • Full-text searches, LN & WL; SSRN?

  • Philosopher’s Index


Lots to Read


Manage Notes

  • Zotero (Firefox add-on) – keep track of documents from Web

  • RefWorks and EndNote

    • export data from indexes or library catalogs

    • enter your own citations

    • write notes

    • format citations

  • UW Libraries


Organize Your Thoughts


Organize Your Thoughts


Organize Your Thoughts


Do You Have What You Need?

  • In your notes and files, do you have the material you need?

  • If not, form questions and go research.

  • If not sure, try writing a section and re-evaluate.


Have You Addressed Your Thesis?

  • If so, great.

  • If not, can you add a section to fill in analysis?

  • If not, can you restate problem to be what you did address?


Help with Mechanics

  • Bluebook 101

  • Word Tips to Make Your Life Easier

  • Legal & General Writing Resources


Gallagher Law Library

University of Washington School of Law

Box 353025

Seattle WA 98195-3025

http://lib.law.washington.edu

  • We are happy to have our guides used by other libraries, librarians, and legal researchers.

  • Before copying or adapting one of our guides, please contact Cheryl Nyberg (cnyberg at uw.edu) to obtain permission. Then give appropriate attribution, such as: "Adapted from a guide by Mary Whisner at the Gallagher Law Library website." 


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