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Real World Research

Introduction

The study and practice of law touches on all aspects of life.  Students should be aware of resources available in various disciplines.  Students should also be conscious of cost when performing research.  Disciplined, cost-effective research requires familiarity with a resource.  The cost for using fee-based databases can be prohibitive.  Depending on your work situation, you may not have access to databases and library resources that you have become accustomed to using during your law school career.

This guide provides a listing of mainly free Internet sites on a variety of information sources that may prove to be useful to practitioners.  In many cases, the information found on these Web sites are primary sources from the originating entities.  Sites charging a fee are indicated by $$$.

 

Local Public Libraries & County Law Libraries

Public Libraries

Need a book that you can't find in your library?  Check Worldcat to see if any other libraries in your area may have the book in its collection.

County Law Libraries

Many Pennsylvania counties have law libraries which are open to the public during the hours that the Court House is open; circulation of materials, however, is generally limited to members of the County Bar.

State Bar

Search the Library Catalog

Finding Books in the Library

Materials in the Widener University Libraries are classed according to the Library of Congress classification schedule.  You may perform a subject, author, or title search in the online library catalog (http://libcat.widener.edu/) to find materials in the Widener libraries.

You can also perform a keyword search.  A keyword search is a broader search and you will likely receive more hits than if you performed a subject specific search.

Finding Journal Articles

To locate journal articles, perform a search in one of the databases listed below.  The following databases are listed on the library’s webpage under Library Resources.

Use the databases to search for articles on your topic.  Some databases provide full-text display of articles while others only provide citations to, or abstracts of, articles.  Some of the databases linked to in this Guide are subscription databases.  Access is available to these databases on the Widener Campus and also off campus.

Lexis & Westlaw - all Widener students have an individual Lexis & Westlaw password. If you have trouble with your password please contact Lexis or Westlaw.

Other Databases - When using other databases off campus you may be prompted for your name and library barcode number.  The library barcode number is printed on the back of your student ID.

Accessing Databases From Off Campus

Some of the databases linked to in this guide are subscription databases. Access is available to these databases on the Widener Law Commonwealth campus and off.

Lexis & Westlaw - all Widener Law Commonwealth students have an individual passwords to Lexis & Westlaw. If you have trouble with your password please contact Lexis or Westlaw.

Other databases - When using other databases off campus you may be prompted for your name/email and/or ID or library barcode number. (The library barcode number is printed on the back of your student ID.)