Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Research Strategies for Seminar Papers

This guide provides a basic outline for researching a seminar paper.


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STEP 2: Preemption Check

The seminar paper requires you to use original analysis, so you must determine what has already been published about the subject. You do this through a preemption check. A preemption check requires you to identify the existing literature on a topic, using multiple research resources. Below is a complete list of legal article databases; a complete preemption check will utilize ALL of the databases listed, as well as searching books held by Georgetown University Libraries

*Note: if your topic is interdisciplinary you will likely need to search other, non-legal databases.  See the information below this box; also see Articles for Legal and Non-Legal Research.

Legal Periodicals - Databases


Preemption Check for Academic, Non-Legal Resources

If your topic is interdisciplinary, you should also use non-legal academic databases for your preemption check. Below are academic databases that cover multiple academic topics. They also index multiple types of materials, as well as academic journal articles.

  • JSTOR is a digital archive of core journals in various fields. It contains the entire runs of these journals, from the first volume up to the volumes published a few years ago.
  • Academic Search Premier provides the full text of journal articles from nearly 1,560 academic, social sciences, humanities, general science, education and multi-cultural journals.
  • ProQuest Research Library includes more than 3,700 titles -- over 2,500 in full text. It features a diversified mix of scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines, and newspapers.
  • Google Scholar includes papers, theses, books, abstracts, and articles from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities, and other scholarly organizations. For on campus users, results automatically contain links to full-text articles. If off campus, click on Settings and then on Library Links. Type "Georgetown" in the search box.

Georgetown also subscribes to databases that collect materials in specific academic areas, such as Economics, History, and Social Sciences. You can identify databases by topic using Lauinger Library's Research Guides. These guides list the databases for specific academic areas, as well as other resources for the topic.  

Preemption Check Tutorial

For more information on how to do a preemption check, view CALI's comprehensive tutorial. 

To set up your free CALI account, go to CALI Lessons for Students.

Preemption Checks for International Topics

If your paper is on a foreign or international topic, you should also consult the following indices in addition to the ones listed above: