Skip to Main Content

Law Search Guide: Search secondary sources (books/journals)

This guide will show you how to search a law topic using quick and simple methods.

How do I find secondary sources?

Secondary resources discuss, analyse, and explain the primary sources of the law. They include newspapers, journals, books, and commentary. There are two main ways of searching for secondary resources, they are; 

  1. searching by keyword; and
  2. searching by citation (when you have the book title or the name of an article). 

Secondary resources are a great way to get a critical analysis of the law and it will guide you to the original sources of the law, remember to always include where possible the "raw law" or primary sources of law such as cases and legislation. 

Explore the sources below to see where you would find them: 

What do you need to find?

Use Library Search to find books both online and in hard copy. 

What is Google Scholar? 

A powerful search tool that will allow you to search for academic and grey literature, you need to evaluate these sources to ensure they are credible.

How do I search Google Scholar?

Try it out

See an example of a Google Scholar Search on constitutional law in Australia. 

Google Scholar Search

Try it yourself

You are looking for a journal article on the referendums in Australia. 

  1. On the Law Guide journals page, select Austlii, second from the top under 'Journal Databases'.
  2. Select 'Journal & Scholarship' from the red bar under the main search box. 
  3. Type the keywords into the search box at the top: referendum AND Australia and select search.



For your assignment, you want to find a journal article on judicial interpretation in the High Court of Australia.

  1. Access AGIS under 'Journal Databases', type in the search terms; "judicial interpretation" high court
  2. In the Limit Search box at the bottom tick Full-text records only, then click search.
  3. Open the first article by clicking on the Full Text PDF link. From here, you can read the article online or download or print.



Charles Darwin University acknowledges the traditional custodians across the lands on which we live and work, and we pay our respects to Elders both past and present.
CRICOS Provider No: 00300K (NT/VIC) 03286A (NSW) RTO Provider No: 0373 Privacy StatementCopyright and DisclaimerFeedback • ABN 54 093 513 649