For most people now a days, if you need to directions to somewhere, you just punch it into your phone, and within a second, you know exactly what route to take. Although it may be hard to remember, there was a time in life when cell phones didn’t act as tiny computers. No email, no Facebook, and definitely no GPS. Instead, if someone needed to go from point A to point B, they used a map. A printed map allowed a user to plan out which route to take to most effectively get to a desired location. In the realm of legal research, research guides are very similar to maps.
When conducting legal research, a researcher is trying to get from point A, the legal question at hand, to point B, the sources that will answer that question. For someone unfamiliar with a certain area of law, it can be hard to begin research without a little bit of guidance. Research guides act as a map for a researcher, helping navigate the open wilderness of primary and secondary sources.
Like a map you would buy at a store, research guides come in all shapes and sizes. Some guides are in print, while others are web based. Even within the realm of web based research guides, there are some that are mostly text based, while others employ charts, tables, and video. Each has its on drawbacks and benefits. Users can write notes on print guides, while electronic guides can be accessed from outside of the library. The decision of which one to use will ultimately come down to user preference. Here at Georgia State University College of Law Library, we have a variety of guides to help assist our users.
So before you start researching an unfamiliar subject, try to find a research guide on your topic. Just like a good map, the guide can help you get from point A to point B more efficiently.
You can find our print guides located across from the Reference Desk. To access our web based guides, go to our LibGuides homepage. Below is a small sample of some of the guides we offer our users.
- Call Number Guide
- Major Title Locator
- Locating Forms
- Georgia Legal Research
- Tax Law – Federal
- Introduction to Medical Research
- Mergers & Acquisitions Law