Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Choosing a Research Paper Topic

Preemption Checking (and Furthering Your Research)

d-221 books

A thorough preemption check assures the originality of your article (and helps you along in your research process). Do this as soon as you have identified a topic – don’t wait until you’ve written your article!

Preemption Checking Process

  • Check Law Journal (or other publisher) policies/procedures!
  • Start with bibliographic databases that index all law review/law journal articles.
  • Subject indices are important since law journal articles may not be descriptive enough – puns and clever titles abound!
  • Anticipate the key words or terms of art central to the topic.
  • Use the thesaurus.
  • Full Text Searching
    • Westlaw
      • To determine what has already been written on a particular topic, run a Natural Language search such as the following in one of the practice-area databases such as Criminal Justice – Law Reviews, Texts, and Bar Journals: "death penalty for juveniles"
    • LexisNexis
    • HeinOnline
  • Articles not yet printed – faculty articles only
    • SSRN
    • Westlaw – Law Review Abstracts Clearinghouse (LRAC)
  • Set up Westlaw and/or LexisNexis alerts
    • Example – watch for law review articles about the death penalty as applied to juveniles by creating an alert such as "death /5 penalty /p juvenile minor in a journals/law reviews database"
  • HeinOnline Scholar Check
    • HeinOnline's ScholarCheck is a series of tools and features integrated throughout various HeinOnline libraries that allow you to view journal articles that have a heavy influence on the subject you are researching. 
    • Quickly identify the leading (maybe most controversial) articles on a topic.
    • Example: juvenile death penalty