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Researching Secondary Law Sources

Is your information credible and reliable?

When accessing information from websites, government websites (.gov) and the websites of universities (.edu) are more credible and reliable than commercial websites (.com).

Personal blogs, online forums and Wikipedia are not authoritative legal sources, though they may give you a basic overview and understanding of a topic, and provide links to more authoritative sources.

For tips on effective web searching, and how to evaluate what you find, have a look at the Library's Skills for Study guide.



You will sometimes see a FIND IT @ DEAKIN link when you are searching for journal articles, and the full text is not immediately available.

FIND IT @ DEAKIN will provide you with possible options for locating the full text of the article if it is not available in full text from the database you are using.

Clicking on the FIND IT @ DEAKIN link will provide a link to other databases, to the library website, and other possible sources.

Tips for searching the web

You will usually find help pages, FAQs, or guides to searching on individual search engine homepages.

  • Try to keep your search queries simple
  • Carefully choose your keywords, and remember to think about alternate terms that could be used
  • If you need to search on a single term, make the term as specific as possible
  • Enclose "exact phrases" in quotation marks
  • Leave out common words, such as the, and, in and at
  • Search tools usually look for word variations, including single and plural terms e.g. Australia will match to Australian, Australia's, Australians etc.
  • Use domains to limit your search to material on specific websites, e.g. for Australian government sites

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a search of scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including articles, books, abstracts, theses and court opinions.

It is often possible to follow FIND IT@DEAKIN links in Google Scholar that will lead you to the full text of an article available through one of the databases Deakin subscribes to.

If you are accessing Google Scholar on campus, this usually happens automatically.

If you are accessing Google Scholar from another location, you will need to adjust the library links settings so Google Scholar recognises that you are from Deakin University.

See the Library's instructions to set up library links in Google Scholar.

Why can't I just Google?

Created by La Trobe University Library
Information is everywhere! It's just so easy to Google and use something that looks relevant... so why can't you just Google?