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University of Newcastle Library guides

Law: Secondary Sources: Search tips

Find secondary sources for law

Finding journal articles on a legal topic

Search terms

  • Summarise your topic; use a legal dictionary or encyclopaedia to define any legal terms.
  • Identify keywords and synonyms; look for differences between Australian/UK/USA terminology and spelling.
  • Use the truncation function e.g. negligent* to search for negligent, negligence and negligently.
  • Use phrase searching to search for legal phrases e.g. "duty of care".  
  • Connect keywords using the Boolean Operators AND to narrow the search and OR to broaden the search.

Information Sources

  • To find good quality academic journal articles search specialised legal databases as well as the Library catalogue.
  • The best sources of Australian material are AGIS Plus Text, AustLII, Westlaw AU and Lexis Advance.
  • Use Hein Online, Westlaw, and Index to Legal Periodicals for international material.
  • Always check the Help option when using a database to find out the correct way to search successfully.
  • If the Library does not have an article you need, request it form another library using our Get It service.

Finding journal articles about a case

  • Use a case citator like FirstPoint, CaseBase or LawCite to cite journal articles referring to a case.
  • Some journal databases have a specific search field to find journal articles about a legal case.

Finding journals about an Act

  • Use a case citator or annotator to cite journal articles referring to specific pieces of legislation.   
  • Some journal databases have a specific search field to find journal articles about legislation.


Search the Library catalogue

Finding articles for an assignment

Key database tutorials

Want to see a related Guide? Click on the image below

Law: Case Law

Find legal resources on case law.

Law: Legislation

Find legislative resources.


This guide provides undergraduates and graduates with specific resources for Criminology