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Finding a Paper Topic

Instruction on Process and Resources for Finding a Paper Topic

Student Study Aids

Study aids of can be a great resource to fill in the back ground knowledge you lack on subject so that you can find a topic and write the paper.  They are generally, not what you want to cite in you paper though.  I recommend two:

  • West Academic Nutshells

Patent Law in a Nutshell in a Book

  • West Academic Hornbooks

Hornbook:  Global Internet Law

West Academic Nutshells and Hornbooks can be found at the library's databases' page at You will need to sign onto WestAcademic with your SSO.  You can also register and create a password so that you can take notes and highlight materials in the database.


Treatises & Looseleafs

Many treatises and Looseleafs (a set of notebooks that are updated regularly) are available to law students and faculty on the major services of Lexis+, Westlaw Edge and Bloomberg.  Lexis+ is particularly strong because it ownes the Matthew Bender and MoBar CLE publications.  Below is screenshot of the "Sources" page in Lexis+ but filtered for "Mathew Bender."

Lexis+ Sources page filtered for "Mathew Bender"

You can get to Treatises and Looseleafs through a variety of different ways besides the "Sources" tab on the Lexis+ splash page.  Ask a librarian for assistance.  You can use chat with us during normal business hours, email us at, or call 816-235-1650.  Below are just two examples from Lexis+.

Below are two examples of treatises and looseleafs available on Lexis+.

Lexis Law of the Internet

MOBAR CLE:  Missouri Intellectual Property

Of course, Weslaw also has treatises listed in its secondary materials.  Bloomberg Law has "portfolios" and is particularly strong in tax materials, and is a favorite of practicitioners. It also covers banking practice, corporate practice, securities, health law, and privacy and data security (to find: Splash Page > Browse (uper left corner) > Browse Secondary Sources > Browse BNA Porfolios).

General Encyclopedias

For background general encyclopedias are good for building background on basic legal concepts.  The following are useful tools:

  • American Jurisprudence 2nd (Westlaw Edge and on Lexis+) "This comprehensive legal encyclopedia contains textual statements of law alphabetically arranged in more than 400 topics."
  • Corpus Juris Secundum (Westlaw Edge) "Cited and quoted as authority in courtrooms across the country, C.J.S., a national legal encyclopedia, covers state and federal legal topics from A to Z. General rules of law are summarized in blackletter law headings and expanded upon in the text. "
  • American Law Reports (Westlaw Edge and on Lexis+) ALR is encyclopedic in scope but comes out chronologically with articles based on select cases or statutes.  It is both a primary law and secondary resource. It is constantly updated. It has a good digest for access. It will lay out your research path for you.
  • Missouri Practice Series (Westlaw Edge) A comprehensive encyclopedia of Missouri law. Although more limited in the topics covered, some practitioners prefer the MoBar CLE set referred to in the section on Treatises and Looseleafs.
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