Legal issues: Topic ideas for your research paper

When you study law there are plenty of legal issues to consider when choosing research topic ideas for your term paper. You will want to start with a broad category like civil or criminal law.

There are several legal issue topics to consider when studying law. (Credit: Media D)

There are several legal issue topics to consider when studying law. (Credit: Media D)

From there, fine tune it so that you eventually get down to a specific research paper topic like tort reform or eminent domain. Let’s look at some ideas and resources for your next legal research paper.

Take a look at Questia

A good place to start your research is at Questia where you’ll find millions of full-text books and articles. Begin your search by browsing the library of topics. The category of law includes topics such as:

  • legal theory
  • civil law
  • criminal law
  • international law

These categories break down further into more specific areas of the law including:

  • class action lawsuits
  • tort reform
  • criminal sentencing
  • consumer protection

If you’re having trouble deciding what to focus on in your paper you can take an idea from the news and see how it relates to the law. One topic that has received significant news coverage in recent months is immigration. You’ll find resources that relate this topic to the law such as the book, Religion and Social Justice for Immigrants edited by Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo.

The author starts from the idea that our nation began with an influx of immigrants who came here in order to practice their religion in freedom. Even today, churches, temples and mosques remain a major institutional point of entry for immigrants.

According to Hondagneu-Sotelo, “While there are powerfully transcendent, spiritual, and intangible facets of religion, this book takes an overtly instrumentalist view of religion—not to deny the spiritual, but rather to enable an examination of how religious beliefs, scriptures, practices, institutions, and organizations enable groups, both immigrants and their supporters, to work for immigrant social justice.”

While you’re at Questia be sure to check out the many tools to help you research and write your paper. The Writing Center has tools to help you find a topic, craft your thesis statement and write an outline.

You can use the on-board tools to highlight passages, take notes and cite your sources. Each project can be stored in a folder and retrieved easily.

Legal resources for your term paper

Sites that house resources and research related to the law include:

  • Animal legal defense fund: Founded in 1979 the ALDF fights to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system.
  • Stanford Law School Case Studies Collection: This site is designed to help students develop their problem-solving skills and stimulate their creativity. The case studies place students in the roles of lawyers and policy makers and teach fundamental lawyering skills such as investigating facts, counseling, and resolving ethical dilemmas.
  • The American Bar Association (ABA): [americanbar.org]: The ABA seeks to improve the legal profession, eliminate bias and enhance diversity and advance the rule of law throughout the U.S. and around the world.
  • The Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies: [disabilitystudies.syr.edu]: Located at Syracuse University The Center distributes bulletins, research reports, articles, information packages and other materials on a broad range of topics related to integration or inclusion for people with disabilities.
  • Justia.com: Links to legal blogs; ask questions and receive answers from attorneys.
  • FindLaw answers: This discussion board contains threads related to topics such as consumer issues, criminal law and employment. Scan the discussions for answers or pose your own question for discussion.
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) State and Local Resources: Find information about employment and human resource management law by state.
  • Public Access to Court Electronic Records [Pacer.gov]: Allows users to obtain case and docket information online from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts.

Learn more about legal issues at Questia where you can read full-text books and articles on thousands of topics.

What legal topics are you interested in learning more about? Tell us about them in the comments below.

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