Strengths and Limitations of Online Resources
brief description of the policy area you selected for the Application Assignment this week. Then briefly describe one online resource that you think is the most useful for researching the policy area and one online resource that you think is the least useful for researching the policy area and explain why. Be specific.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific information from the Learning Resources.
As you likely saw when conducting your research for this week’s Application Assignment, not all online resources are created equal. Your course text, Legal Research Methods, asserts that fee-based online services such as Westlaw and Lexis are superior despite their cost and that, while less expensive, most free online sites cannot compete with the breadth and quality of services offered by these two industry leaders. That being said, some free websites are better than others and can be useful additions to your research repertoire.
Fee-based services are considered superior because of the editorial oversight and the depth of resource coverage that they provide. In general, free websites only provide access to secondary resources. Therefore, when you are using them you often will have to search out the primary resources. These primary resources generally are available through library or subscription type resources, but having to track them down can take time. The exceptions to this rule are government websites; they usually link primary resources to the secondary documents they create. However, they sometimes don’t put all of their documents online or don’t post them as quickly as commercial publishers.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review the articles, “The Pajama Way of Research”< and “Researching Legal History in the Digital Age.” Consider the impact of conducting research completely online. Think about the strengths and limitations of this approach to research.
- Review your Application Assignment from this week. Reflect on the benefits or drawbacks of each resource that you used and on which online resources were the most or