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Legal Research Skills Guide: Journal Articles & Databases

Journal articles

Journals are published quicker than books and can provide depth of analysis and opinion to inform argument. They are often peer reviewed and are written by academics or practitioners with expertise in a particular area of law. Remember journal articles may not always reflect the current law and it is important to check if there have been any updates since the article was published.

Why use law journals?

  • To provide an overview on the law related to a research area
  • To focus on a specific or specialised aspect of the law
  • Current information not yet in textbooks
  • Summarise recent cases or legislation amendments
  • Scholarly opinions of experts to back up your argument
  • To lead to other articles and cases on similar points of law
  • To discuss proposed changes and law reform areas.

How to find journal articles

You can find journal articles:

  1. By citation - search for the journal title in Primo, then navigate to the volume, issue and page number of the journal citation
  2. By subject - search in a journal database.
    • AGIS is the most comprehensive index of Australian law journal articles
      • You can search by keywords in the abstract, author, article title, case name or Act considered

journal articles & library databases

Peer review

Most law journals are peer reviewed, which means they are reviewed by other academics and legal practitioners prior to publication. You can check whether an article is peer reviewed by looking it up in Ulrichsweb

Activity #8 - Locating an article from a journal citation

 Using the following citation, locate the journal article in the CSU Library collection.

Activity #9 - Finding journal articles in AGIS

 Search in the AGIS for articles that are related to the case Lindsay v R [2015] HCA 16