Research Strategies for Seminar Papers

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


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STEP 3: Background Research

A successful research project starts with finding introductory or background information. Start with resources that provide broad and high-level discussions of the subject, such as treatises, case books, and practice manuals. Books, by their nature, provide general discussions of topics compared to journal articles. You will likely find many of these materials while doing the preemption check, but additional introductory research should be done to address gaps in background knowledge. 

Performing this background research also helps identify weaknesses in the research question, allowing you to revise it if needed before starting the bulk of the research. 

Effective background research requires using multiple article databases and the Library's catalog. Use the Law Library's online catalog to identify books and other non-journal materials. The Advanced Search option (linked under the large search box on the Library's website) provides the most search functions, including the ability to search by title, author, and subject, as well as identifying materials that can be borrowed from Georgetown's main library and other local academic libraries.