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Legal Research Skills Guide: Reports

What is a report?

Reports are used by government bodies and organisations to communicate information that has been gathered as a result of research and analysis. They will have a clear purpose and are designed with a specific audience in mind.

Reports that may be useful for legal research can include:

  • Government reports
  • Policy statements
  • Industry body reports
  • NGO reports
  • Parliamentary inquiry reports
  • Royal Commission reports

Searching for reports

There are a number of ways to find reports to help you with your legal research. 

Government Websites

If you know who produced the report, check the Department's website. These are usually listed under the "Publications" section of the website.


Trove is the National Library's listing of publications in Australia. This is a great place to do a topic search within the Research & Reports category. If the report was made available electronically, the record in TROVE will link to the website.


The power of the indexing and searching in Google, allows you to search across multiple websites. Use the techniques in the Effective Internet Searching page of this guide to get the most effective results

Parliamentary Papers

Commonwealth - Tabled papers can be accessed via the Australian Parliamentary Website

New South Wales - the State Library of New South Wales has a comprehensive guide to reports and papers from the New South Wales Parliament.