Secondary Sources Research Guide

This guide explains various types of secondary sources, including legal encyclopedias and American Law Reports, and how to use them.


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What is a Legal Periodical?

Legal periodicals contain articles about emerging areas of law and are written by professors, practitioners, judges, and law students. Commonly used legal periodicals include law reviews, law journals, and bar journals. 

Why Use a Legal Periodical?

Legal periodicals are often the first secondary source to cover new and emerging areas of law and to highlight developments and changes in the existing law. An issue that is too new to appear in an encyclopedia or treatise is often discussed heavily in the trade press or scholarly journals. In addition to providing an in-depth discussion on the legal issue, a law review or journal article also will provide citations to significant, and often recent, primary and secondary sources. 

Periodical Indices

A periodical index collects information about individual articles that appear in journals, newsletters, and magazines. That information is arranged alphabetically by title, author, and subject. Some indices also include tables that list articles by statute or case name.

For more information on indices for legal periodicals, as well as full-text databases containing legal periodicals, see our guide on Articles for Legal and Non-Legal Research.

Law Reviews Tutorial

Running time: 3:53 minutes

Created/updated: July 2023
Last reviewed: July 2023

Legal Periodicals (Online)