Secondary sources are a legal researcher's best friend. They are a great place to begin researching a new topic as they provide a framework for understanding the subject. Not only will a good secondary source provide researchers with a way of approaching the topic, but it will also introduce beginning researchers to the language of the subject. Secondary sources also contain expert analysis, references to primary law such as cases, statutes, and regulations, and will also include such other resources as governmental reports, statistics, and other secondary sources. While secondary sources are an incredibly valuable research tool, they can offer such a wide array of options that researchers become overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices. This can strike anyone, even a fairly experienced researcher. Librarians, too, can become overwhelmed, especially when faced with teaching law students about the value of secondary sources and how to harness their power.
Legal Information Alert
Susan D. Zago, "Secondary Sources: Top Ten," LEGAL INFORMATION ALERT 24(3): 1,4-6 (March 2005).