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Education Law

Researching Education Law

Researching Education Law:  our guide is structured in the same way as we recommend beginning a search into education law. The relevant section headings are across the top of the Guide.

  1. Clearly identify your question: don't just jump in.
    • Take a moment to write or type out what it is you're looking for. It can be as broad or as narrow as you want. But write it down, type it out, or even just hold it in your head if that works for you. It'll help you avoid information overload as you'll be able to remember the focus you've got and refine that focus as you go through.
  2. Start with Secondary Sources:
    • If you're just getting started on a topic, it really helps to "stand on the shoulders of giants" and start with legal encyclopedias and books that provide commentary and analysis on Education Law and Policy.

      For example, you might start with a legal encyclopedia like American Law Reports, 2nd edition (ALR 2d) or Corpus Juris Secundum (latin for: "The Body of Law, Part 2", usually abbreviated CJS).

      But you may also want to start with something a little more accessible, before getting to the full-blown legal encyclopedia. That's what "hornbooks" and "nutshells" are for. Those books serve both as quick references and as quick introductions to the big areas of a body of law. We've linked several of these and have them available both electronically (law students only) and in print (everyone).

      Hornbooks and nutshells are the "tl;dr" of the law world. And they're great places to start if you want to familiarize yourself with a new area of law - even if you're already a lawyer!

      And, of course, don't sleep on books and journal articles. We link to journals and some of our collection of books on this topic in the links above.
  3. Primary Sources: this means the actual laws themselves, or the regulations.
    • Secondary sources are going to be written about these primary sources and will reference them. But it can be difficult if you're just getting started to do it that way, so these are more links for once you've got some idea of what you're going to be doing.
  4. Public Internet Resources:
    • These are links to useful websites, broken down by state and federal government resources, education law legal websites, libguides on more specific education law topics (e.g., special education law), and links to organizations who focus on education law and policy. 

Each section will provide resources on state and federal education law. And don't forget: if you have any questions at all a research librarian is just an email away: law-refdesk@illinois.edu