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Law Journals: Finding and using print and electronic journals

A brief guide to print and electronic law journals

You have access to an extensive range of legal journals at the University.  Primarily, content is available in electronic format which maximises access to content and also enhances your legal research by allowing you to quickly and easily move between case law, legislation and other commentary sources, referenced in the journal sources you are using.

You will be directed to key titles via your module reading lists.

Use the guidance below to explore the full range of materials available to you.

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.

Searching for known journal articles

You will come across references to journal articles in reading lists, textbooks and from the online searching that you undertake.  References to journal articles often use legal abbreviations to refer to journal titles, e.g.  Reece, H. The end of domestic violence (2006) 69 M.L.R. 770.   This refers to the Modern Law Review.  Use our abbreviations guide if you need help understanfing legal abbreviations.

You can use Library Search and try searching for

1. Article Title: The end of domestic violence

2. Journal Title: Modern Law Review

Always try the article title first and if that does not produce any results, you can try the journal title.


Searching for articles on a topic

You can also search for articles on a them or topic.  In this case, it is worth spending some time planning your search strategy so that you can search effectively and do not become overwhelmed by lots of irrelevant results, or search too narrowly so that you find very little information.  The Search Techniques LibGuide provides lots of helpful guidance to help you plan your search strategy.

You can use Library Search for topic searching for a broad search across a range of full text resources. This can be useful, particularly at dissertation time when you are looking to search across legal and non legal materials. or for when you are starting to research a new area.

However, you will also need to target the legal databases specifically for detailed searching within journal articles, as Library Search does not index the content of all the large legal databases.


Recommended databases for legal journal research

Westlaw is a good starting point as it includes the Legal Journals Index as well as lots of full text journal articles. You will also want to search the journals that are available on Lexis Library. Westlaw and Lexis are provided by different legal publishers so each holds unique journal content.

HeinOnline and JSTOR are worth searching if you want to look at the discussion of legal issues in articles over time, as they provIde access to older volumes of the journals.  



Print Journals @ Exeter

A print journal collection is available in the Law Library (Exeter campus) although use of this print material is diminishing as the majority of journal titles are also available electronically.

All print journal titles are discoverable via Library Search and are shelved in an alphabetical sequence on rolling shelving in the Law Library. The Lasok Law Library: Guide to Printed Materials (also available in printed format throughout the Law Library for consultation) can be used to look up a journal title and identify the exact shelf number in the Law Library. 

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