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Law is a constantly changing subject.
Books take a relatively long time to be published, and can become out-of-date
very quickly. By contrast, journals publish new issues regularly – sometimes
Journal articles are much shorter than
books – so there’s less to read!
Articles tend to focus on much more
precise topics than books, sometimes they focus on just one case or legal
Virtually every module has journal
articles on its reading list, which shows how important they are as a resource.
Firstly, if the article you want to read is on your module reading list, look at the online reading list. Put the module number or name in the search box to find it. There will either be a link to the article on the online list, or other useful information about how can find it.
This PDF guide to finding journal articles will help you find journal articles when you have a reference.
You may also want to look at the library's guide Using LibrarySearch to find a journal title (PDF).
If you want to find articles about a particular topic, you will need to use a database.
The three most useful databases for finding articles in law are
Have a look at the law databases page to find out more about how you can use these databases to find articles on a topic. Using Westlaw and LexisLibrary to find articles on a topic is something that we cover on the Lexis and Westlaw: Advanced Searching workshop. so you find it helpful to book your free place.
Some journal articles also display in search results on LibrarySearch. However, a lot of law journals are not picked up in LibrarySearch results, so it isn't as comprehensive in law as it is in other subjects. Feel free to use LibrarySearch, but we recommend you also use one or more of the databases listed above. Find out more about using LibrarySearch to find articles on a topic (PDF).
The titles of journals are often abbreviated in references, which can make it tricky to know what the journals are called. There are two useful resources you can use to help with abbreviations:
If you are writing an assignment for a module in the School of Law then you will expected to use OSCOLA referencing. You can find lots more information about OSCOLA, along with some helpful resources, on the OSCOLA webpage.
In the OSCOLA handbook, information about referencing journal articles can be found in section 3.3.1. Although the section talks about 'hard copy journals' follow it even if it's a journal article you read online. You don't need to put a URL or a date of access for journal articles.
Journal articles are a fantastic resource for your assignments. If you have a reading list or a reference to an article, then this short video will help you get started