Skip to Main Content

Legal Research Basics

Guide outline

Getting started with legal research

This introductory legal research guide will help you to get started with legal research. Read through the outlines below to learn what is covered in each section of this guide. You can navigate to these sections via the menu on the left.

Key books: A list of useful legal research textbooks which can be used in addition to your prescribed resources.

Your first steps in legal research: This section is the first place you should start. It maps out the difference between primary and secondary sources of law. There are also some useful videos on developing key research skills.

Legal writing skills: Contains links to useful books and resources on legal writing skills.

Study guides: Links to commercial legal publishers short topical guides, including case notes and Q & A exam study guides.

International treaties: This section contains some useful resources on the Australian treaty making process, links to important treaties and examples of referencing styles.

Current awareness: How to keep up to date with new developments in the law, as well as a list of recent acquisitions.

Unit Help: Customised Library Resource Guides for specific unit codes.

Need help accessing library databases?

How to login

Always access the legal subscription databases from the Library's A-Z databases page, Catalogue or a Resource Guide. You should only need to enter your Deakin Single Sign On credentials.

Recommended browser

If you experience any browser issues, Deakin University IT recommends the Mozilla Firefox browser. More information is available on the Recommended Browser & Settings webpage.

Enable cookies

Some databases use cookies and/or have popup messages. Ensure that you enable popups for these databases in your internet browser. More information is available on the Recommended Browser & Settings webpage.



Avoid using Google to access a subscription database, as you are likely to encounter paywalls.


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.