Journal articles can be an excellent source for researching narrower, more specialized legal topics. Articles published in law journals include extensive footnotes with citations to primary and secondary sources that are relevant to the topic. Two types of tools for conducting journal article research are described below.
- Journal indexes include bibliographic information about an article, such as the title, the name of the author, and the name of the journal, as well as one or more subject descriptors. Searching in a journal index usually retrieves more relevant articles than searching in a full-text database because the searches are run only on the bibliographic data and the subject descriptors.
- Full-text journal databases allow you to search within the entire text of an article. Most of them also include bibliographic information, as well. It is easier to run searches in full-text databases, but they tend to retrieve many irrelevant articles in addition to the relevant articles.
Many of the relevant periodical indexes are available in the library's research guide on using articles in legal and non-legal research. These indexes include Index to Legal Periodicals and Books, Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, and Legal Journals Index. Some journals may not be indexed in any of the standard indexes.
Full-text journal databases would include those available through HeinOnline, Westlaw, Lexis, Oxford, and Kluwer, among others.
Also note that there is the European Research Paper Archive (ERPA), which holds 1,925 papers on the subject of European integration.