How Might a Theory Paper Differ? Questions Purpose Sources Thoroughness Currentness Style
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.
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?
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
Lots to Read Find 1 article. Read it. Find next article. Find many articles.Scan lists. Decide which to read.
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
Organize Your Thoughts ThesisLegal issue Apply theory to issue Test with examplesConclude
Organize Your Thoughts Question / Theory CaseMajorityDissentCaseComments
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
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.
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?
Help with Mechanics Bluebook 101 Word Tips to Make Your Life Easier Legal & General Writing Resources
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