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Introduction to Legal Research

Series of presentations to teach the fundamentals of legal research.


Statutes are created by the legislative branch of government, and are primary authority.  Statutes are published initially as slip laws, posted to the legislature's website, and bound into session law volumes at the close of the legislative session.  The laws are then organized into a code, which is a subject organization of statutory law in force at the time code was created.  Researchers use annotated codes for research.  Federal statutes are published in the United States Statutes at Large and codified in the United States Code, which is the official codification for federal statutes.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for this presentation are the following:

  • Understanding the publication process of statutes from session laws to code
  • Knowing that a code is a subject organization of statutory law in force at the time the code was created
  • Learning that annotated codes contain references to primary and secondary authority applicable to the code section
  • Using an annotated code for legal research
  • Knowing how to navigate print and online codes using an index, table of contents, popular name table and fields and keywords
  • Knowing how to check for currency of a code section


Additional Resources

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