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Thinking About Legal Research Problems

Created by Paul D. Callister from earlier version at

Define the Kind of Problem

Define the Kind of Problem by Type

"Problem typing" sets the research up to choose the types of resources that best match the problem.  Below are various types of problems.  Often most legal research involves Subject problem types, which require different resources, such as secondary sources to resolve.

Chart of Problem Types

*The table is based upon a similar taxonomy developed in Jean L. Sears & Marilyn K. Moody, Using Government Information Sources: Print and Electronic 6-9 (2nd ed., 1994).