On-Line Legal Research Workshops

By Jonassen, Frederick B. | St. Thomas Law Review, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

On-Line Legal Research Workshops


Jonassen, Frederick B., St. Thomas Law Review


ABSTRACT

Like riding a bicycle, playing tennis, or driving a car, legal research is a skill, and like any other skill, it is learned by doing, and not by listening to a lecture. However, lectures are indispensable for introducing the skill. The mental processes applied in electronic legal research may differ from those applied to book legal research. But because both electronic and book research are skills, a guided workshop in electronic legal research may be based on similar principles to those underlying a workshop in book legal research, with appropriate modifications.

The aspects of the electronic legal workshop proposed here are as follows: (1) scheduling as soon as possible after the introductory lecture and treasure hunt exercise; (2) (2) guided questions, which lead students through a process and which also give them freedom and independence to make choices; (3) (3) a realistic research problem that requires reflection about what has been found, as opposed to simply finding an answer, but which is not as complex as the research problem for a typical open memo; (4) (4) work in small groups or pairs; (5) (5) immediate discussion and feedback on the strategies employed in the research exercise. (6)

ABSTRACT
INTRODUCTION

PART I: TEACHING LEGAL RESEARCH IS DIFFICULT

PART II: THE BOOK LEGAL RESEARCH WORKSHOP
       A. The Levy Approach
       B. Moppett & Buckingham
       C. Three Issues
          1. Not a Treasure Hunt
          2. Group Work
          3. Guidance
PART III: THE ON-LINE LEGAL RESEARCH WORKSHOP
      A. Preliminaries
      B. The Research Problem
      C. The Guidance Questions
      D. The Class
      E. Results
      F. Questionnaire Responses
CONCLUSION

INTRODUCTION

Professors and librarians who teach legal research have often observed that students learn how to research by actively researching rather than by listening to a lecture. (7) To drive this point home, commentators have employed a variety of comparisons. (8) They tell us that learning how to research is like learning how to ride a bicycle, play tennis, drive a car, or swim. (9) Lectures on these activities might teach a person a lot about them, but few have learned how to ride a bike, develop topspin, make a left-hand turn in two-way traffic, or do a backstroke from a lecture. (10) Exactly the same is true of legal research because performing such research, like all of these activities, is a skill, or more accurately, a set of skills. (11) Lectures may be effective for explaining substantive or doctrinal material, but a skill is typically acquired by hands-on experience. (12)

Articles by Levy and by Moppett & Buckingham have proposed that students can efficiently and effectively develop book legal research skills through workshops. (13) In such environments, students are able to solve research problems in groups, with guiding questions, and with immediate access to, and feedback from, the professor or a librarian. (14) The workshop approach and the suggestions of these commentators provide a vital means of initiating and developing a feel for doing legal research in books beyond the preliminary introduction encompassed by lectures and the so-called treasure hunt or bibliographic approach. (15) However, these articles only address the teaching of book research, not electronic or on-line research, which is likely to become the dominant type of research utilized by students. (16) The instant article builds on the work of Levy and Moppett & Buckingham and proposes that, despite the widely noted differences between book research and on-line research in regard to how they are most effectively done and taught, (17) both share a similarity that is crucial for teaching either: both types of research are skills, so that students for the most part learn how to perform both through doing and not through listening. (18) Therefore, just as students most efficiently and effectively begin to develop their book legal researching skills through the workshop method advanced by Levy and Moppett & Buckingham, so also do they most efficiently and effectively begin to develop their on-line legal research skills through a workshop method paralleling the workshop approach for book research advocated by these authors. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

On-Line Legal Research Workshops
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.