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Research and Writing Strategy for a Seminar Paper Theories of Justice Seminar April 2010 Mary Whisner.

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Presentation on theme: "Research and Writing Strategy for a Seminar Paper Theories of Justice Seminar April 2010 Mary Whisner."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research and Writing Strategy for a Seminar Paper Theories of Justice Seminar April 2010 Mary Whisner

2 It’s very simple: Research Write

3 Not so simple, really: Brainstorm Early research Topic Systematic research Notetaking Refined Topic Writing Discovering holes Drafting

4 Research Writing Filling in holes Answer Q? Flow? Editing Clean up citations Tweak Polishing

5 Strategy: Typical Legal Problem Preliminary analysis (issue, parties, jurisdiction, keywords, secondary sources) Statutes (plus regs, ordinances) Mandatory precedent Persuasive precedent Refine, update, doublecheck

6 How Might a Theory Paper Differ? Questions Purpose Sources Thoroughness Currentness Style

7 State a Thesis (Even Tentatively) E.g., Recent Supreme Court opinions on affirmative action in education and busing in public schools illustrate competing visions of fairness. Applying theories of Rawls and Nozick can help us understand the tension.

8 Form a Plan Write questions you hope to answer with research: What are recent S.Ct. cases re affirmative action in education? What rationales do justices apply? How do l. rev. articles analyze fairness issues? How about philosophy or public policy articles?

9 Plan How You’ll Look Already have citations for S. Ct. cases; just need to retrieve and read. Law review articles: – KeyCite or Shepardize cases; restrict to law review articles with key terms – LegalTrac – Full-text searches, LN & WL; SSRN? Philosopher’s Index

10 Lots to Read Find 1 article. Read it. Find next article. Find many articles.Scan lists. Decide which to read.

11 Manage Notes Zotero (Firefox add-on) – keep track of documents from Web RefWorks and EndNote – export data from indexes or library catalogs – enter your own citations – write notes – format citations UW Libraries

12 Organize Your Thoughts ThesisLegal issue Apply theory to issue Test with examplesConclude

13 Organize Your Thoughts Question / Theory CaseMajorityDissentCaseComments

14 Organize Your Thoughts Bkgd Facts: Why a problem? Standard legal analysis Theory 1 applied to problem Unsatisfactory because... Theory 2 applied to problem Unsatisfactory because... Possible 3rd approach? Conclusion

15 Do You Have What You Need? In your notes and files, do you have the material you need? If not, form questions and go research. If not sure, try writing a section and re- evaluate.

16 Have You Addressed Your Thesis? If so, great. If not, can you add a section to fill in analysis? If not, can you restate problem to be what you did address?

17 Help with Mechanics Bluebook 101 Word Tips to Make Your Life Easier Legal & General Writing Resources

18 Gallagher Law Library University of Washington School of Law Box Seattle WA We are happy to have our guides used by other libraries, librarians, and legal researchers. Before copying or adapting one of our guides, please contact Cheryl Nyberg (cnyberg at uw.edu) to obtain permission. Then give appropriate attribution, such as: "Adapted from a guide by Mary Whisner at the Gallagher Law Library website."


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