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Employment Discrimination: Choose a Topic

This is a guide on topic selection and research for Employment Discrimination papers.

Topic Selection & Preemption

What makes a great topic

In determining what makes a quality topic selection, consider the following:

  • examining legal developments throughout the course of history
  • identifying controversial issues within your area of law 
  • identifying hot topics for debate in recent news
  • reading recent legal issues that resulted in split court decisions (varying/conflicting interpretations of the law  based on jurisdiction)
  • reading recent scholarly articles and publications in your area
  • browsing Calls For Papers seeking proposals for conferences, writing competitions, or publications to see which topics they are asking for
  • talking to people in the profession about what interesting topics they've come across in recent practice
  • staying current with blogs, newsletters, newspapers focused on your area of law
  • browsing pending statutes and laws 
  • critiquing and assessing other authors' publications on a specific topic
  • making sure the topic is not overly narrow where there is little to no information to draw from
  • making sure the topic is not overly broad where the research is too generalized

Getting started

If you don't already have a topic of interest in mind, a few things you can do to brainstorm for ideas are:

  • browsing employment law blogs
  • browsing newspapers for hot topics related to employment law
  • browsing newsletters and law journals specifically on employment and labor law
  • reading study aids and practitioner's guides about subtopics and subareas of employment law
  • visiting Harvard Law School's Guide to Finding a Paper Topic or other law school research guides
  • using Legal Trac's Topic Finder for general ideas regarding employment law
  • speaking to your professor
  • contacting a Reference Librarian

Once you start to explore these options, you will most likely find an article that leads to more specific issues. Then, you can generate keywords and search terms based on these issues to conduct a more thorough research of the topic for both preemption checking and collecting resources so that you will have them once you are ready to begin drafting your article.

Other places to look

1. Conduct a preliminary search via the UF library catalog

to search for the latest available titles on your general topic:

 

Search through those titles for more specific issues that you are interested in researching.

 

2. Visit WorldCat.org

Use the search box below to search for titles that may not be included in our collection, but may be available at neighboring libraries and may be sent to the UF Law Library through Interlibrary Loan Services.

 

 

3. Check out Bloomberg's Practice Center for Employment & Labor or the UF Law database list:

 

Conduct a Preemption Check

What is Preemption checking?

Once you have selected a topic, you now want to conduct a preliminary search to see if 1) anyone else has written and published a scholarly article on that very same topic and issue already and 2) you want to be alerted to any new and pending statutes and laws that could render the topic changed or moot. You don't want to cover something that someone has already published on. 

It is okay if the topic is similar to yours, as long as you put a new spin on it, such as doing any of the following:

  • offering a different analysis 

  • offering a fresh perspective

  • offering a different angle or focus (maybe in a specific industry or business, or hone in on a particular group of people)

  • review and analyze or critique that specific author's analysis

  • creating a comparative element (tackling the issue from another jurisdiction)

The idea is to offer something new--a new point of view and analysis that someone hasn't read before. This also is a prevention to plagiarism because you want to avoid repeating the same idea, research, and writing organization that another person has done. 

When you are conducting a preemption check, remember to save the articles you find that are on point with you so that you can cite to them in your own article, if only to mention that you have done your research and are aware of their existence as you take on a different view and analysis. 

Where to look for a preemption check

Search electronic databases

Search unpublished & working papers

You need to check "forthcoming publications," & working papers, too. These are the best sites for papers on the brink of publication: