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Legal Research Guide: Jurisprudence: Online Library Support

Online library support for jurisprudence study and research

Want to browse the print book collection on jurisprudence? 

See the KA section in the Law Library

Law Librarian @ Exeter

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Lee Snook
Subjects: Law

This online guide highlights some of the key texts and journals you can use to support your jurisprudence research. Guidance is also provided on using Library Search and the online databases to find relevant books, articles and other full text information on jurisprudence related topics

View the full Law Subject Guide for guidance on other legal materials

Library Search

Search across the print and online collections for books, chapters, articles, journals and lots more. 

Library Search will help you discover books, journals, articles, audio visual material and more on your chosen topic. This is a good place to start when you are beginning to research a topic as you can draw on content from a variety of different sources.

For more in depth research in databases and archives, use the A-Z Databases List.

Library Search Tips

You can search by them or topic by entering relevant search terms into the Library Search service. For example, you could try some of the following

Search Topics
Jurisprudence Feminist Jurisprudence Sociological Jurisprudence Law Society Law ethics
Law natural Law Philosophy Law literature Law Sociology Law economics

You can also search for materials using the name of the key jurisprudence writers / philosophers.   Some examples are provided below. You can search for other philosophers by entering their name into the Library Search box above. You can also combine searching for an author and concept, for example: Hart mens rea.

H L A Hart Ronald Dworkin Thomas Hobbes John Locke David Hume
Jeremy Bentham Adam Smith John Austin Joseph Raz John Rawls

Finding Resources Using Online Databases

What are databases?

Research databases enable you to see what has been published in the area you are researching. They contain detailed records of thousands of journal articles, book references and conference proceedings. These records usually include the article title, authors, abstract (a brief summary), keywords (to enable your search to find it) and more.

Why should I use a database?

  • They are a valuable way of searching for published scholarly research across a wide number of sources
  • You can build complex searches using sophisticated search interfaces. There will be plenty of options to refine your searches, ensuring that the results are likely to be relevant to your needs
  • They contain huge numbers of records, and thus provide comprehensive subject coverage
  • They also provide frequent (often daily) indexing, and so are very up to date

You will be familiar with using the Key Legal Databases for research on your other law modules.

You will also want to explore a range of non legal databases to research your jurisprudence topics.  A few key resources are highlighted in the adjacent tabs.

There are many different databases. Their interfaces will all vary, and they may use different terminology.

However, they all have similar features. Once you are familiar with these, you'll be able to find your way around different databases. You can see the main features in the examples below.

This is an example of the Web of Science search screen and it is typical of a research database search interface.

Once you click the Search button, the results page appears so that you can look at materials that match your search topic.

You can access databases from all disciplines from the A-Z Database List

Use the drop down menus to browse databases by Subject or Database Type.

By Subject

For example, you might want to explore databases for PhilosophyPsychology or Sociology in order to research jurisprudence topics. You can find these and others in the A-Z Databases List. 

The subject listings will highlight the 'core resources'; these are key databases that are likely to be of interest to anyone studying and researching in that area.

By Type

For example, you may want to focus on news, official publications or reference works databases.  You can find these and others in the A-Z Databases List. 


Subject LibGuide

If you are researching across an unfamiliar subject/discipline you can use the relevant Subject LibGuide for guidance.

This will highlight recommended databases and other resources for you to explore. 

This is a full-text database of selected primary source electronic editions in philosophy.

You can browse works by particular philosophers such as Aquinas, Hume and Locke. You can also search across the works on topics that interest you.

JSTOR is a valuable research resource for secondary resources.  You can use it to search and find the full text of published books and journal articles.

Use the How to Search JSTOR LibGuide for an introduction to the service, or take a look at JSTOR's Vimeo channel for instructional videos.

Top Tip: Use the Advanced search option if you want to focus your searching to a particular subject area.

You can browse/search for information related to law, sociology, philosophy, psychology, feminist & women's studies, plus many other subject areas.

The Philosopher’s Index™, produced by the Philosopher’s Information Center, is a current and comprehensive bibliographic database covering scholarly research in all major fields of philosophy. The Philosopher’s Index, considered the most thorough index of journal literature on the subject, features author-written abstracts covering scholarly research published in journals and books, including contributions to anthologies and book reviews. The Philosopher’s Index contains research published since 1940 including over 680 journals from more than 50 countries with content representing a variety of languages.

As this is a research index database, you will need to access the full text of relevant materials elsewhere.
See the  Finding the Full Text tab for more info.

This video demonstrates how to use the Advanced Search function.

Web of Science is a large multidisciplinary research database covering all subject areas.

You can use it to discover the global literature on a wide range of topics.  It is not a full text database, but you can use it to discover published material and follow links through to discover the full text available on other services.

As this is a research index database, you will need to access the full text of relevant materials elsewhere.
See the  Finding the Full Text tab for more info.

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