Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Small Business Research Guide

This guide describes specialized materials, both print and online, for researching small businesses.


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Secondary Sources


To locate books on your topic, search the online catalog. To find books discussing a particular issue facing small businesses, try a keyword search for your topic and the phrase small business. For example, if you are looking for books on health care insurance concerns of small businesses, your search would be: health care and small business.

Some books that might be useful to get started in your research are:

  • Lee R. Petillon, Representing Start-Up Companies (loose-leaf). KF1355 .P47 1992 (also available on Westlaw)
  • Steven C. Alberty, Advising Small Businesses: Forms (loose-leaf). KF1659.A94 (no longer updated in print, but also available on Westlaw)
  • Robert J. Haft, Venture Capital and Small Business Financings (loose-leaf). KF1659 .H33 2002 (print updating canceled in 2014, but also available on Westlaw)
  • Jean L. Batman, Advising the Small Business: Forms and Advice for the Legal PractitionerKF1659 .B38 2011.

You may also want to search HoyaSearch, the catalog of the Main Campus Libraries. Main Campus collections support the faculty and students of the McDonough School of Business and includes books that are not in the Law Library's collections.

If you need books that are not at Georgetown or in the Washington Research Library Consortium or books that are checked out, you should request them through Interlibrary Loan. If you find a book that you think the Library should purchase, please send us an e-mail message with the author, title, publisher, and year.

Law Reviews: Indexes

To locate law review articles, use LegalTrac or Legal Periodicals & Books. Coverage on LegalTrac is from 1980 to the present. Legal Periodicals & Books Articles has articles from 1982 to the present, and Legal Periodicals & Books Retrospective covers 1908-1981 (to use Retrospective, use the same link for Legal Periodicals & Books, and make sure the Retrospective box is checked in the list of databases).

LegalTrac is also available on Westlaw: LRI ("Legal Resource Index," 1980 - Current).

Law Reviews: Full Text Online

Lexis, Westlaw and HeinOnline have the full text of many law review articles online. The full text databases give you the ability to search the text of articles for specific words and phrases, but do not include all articles from all journals. The indexes are much more comprehensive in scope.

News, Business and Economics Databases

In addition to law review articles, you may find relevant articles from newspapers, business magazines, and business or economics journals.

To search for newspaper and magazine articles, the combined news databases on Lexis or Westlaw are your best choices. While there is a lot of overlap in the two databases, there are some differences in coverage. For example, only Lexis has the full text of the New York Times (1969 - ).

Neither Lexis or Westlaw carries the full text of the Wall Street Journal. However, it is available in several other databases.

The databases listed below are recommended for business and economics research.

ABI/INFORM. ABI/INFORM is a leading database for business and management information. It provides indexing, abstracts and many full-text articles from over 1,000 business and management journals. Coverage begins in 1970.

World Trade Online. Includes Inside U.S. TradeAround the World, and World Trade Organization.

ECONLIT. The Economic Literature Index provides indexing and abstracts of articles from 450 major economics journals.

Legislative Information

For current legislative information, use For comprehensive legislative research, from 1789 to the present, use ProQuest Congressional. For details on legislative history research, take a look at our research guide or ask for reference assistance.

Starting a Small Business

Founder's Workbench - Goodwin Proctor's start-up guidance for the entrepreneur. Legal forms provided allow you to form your start-up as a Delaware corporation. Other guidance includes financing strategies, operating your start-up, employees and intellectual property.