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Legal Research for Undergraduates and Non-Law Students: Secondary Sources

Legal Treatises

A legal treatise is a single volume or a set of volumes that describe and analyze a particular subject area of the law. They are written by scholars in that field and are regularly updated.  The best way to find a good treatise is to consult a prepared list, such as the Georgetown Law Library Treatise Finder.

Search for legal treatises by visiting the online catalog at the UF Libraries website. Enter keywords to search for the topic you are researching, or the title if you already know the treatise you want to find.

Legal Encyclopedias

A legal encyclopedia is a comprehensive set of brief articles on legal topics. It is arranged in alphabetical order by topic, and most of them include an index. The two most popular general legal encyclopedias are American Jurisprudence, 2d (AmJur) and Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS). In addition, there are numerous state legal encyclopedias. A legal encyclopedia specifically targeting Florida law is Florida Jurisprudence, 2d (FlaJur).

There are two primary uses for legal encyclopedias.

1. The articles can serve as a general introduction to an area of law which is new to you.

2. Encyclopedias are a way to find citations to cases and other useful materials on a particular issue.

Note: Materials found in legal encyclopedias are not intended to be authoritative souces on the law in any area.


1.    Use the General Index to gain access to the desired topic.

2.    For greater detail, consult the Topic Index. The Topic Index is located inside each individual volume.

3.     Make sure to check the pocket part for newer material.

Did You Know?

Looking for a rapidly developing or controversial area of the law?

Try looking at American Law Reports, or A.L.R. annotations.  They are similar to encyclopedia articles, but they address specific legal issues and analyze them in greater depth.  You can find the American Law Reports in our Reference section.

Law Review Articles

You can find law review articles and other periodicals using one of these e-databases: