Research process

Review essential tasks for successful legal research.

Essential tasks

  • Identify phrases and keywords in the question and use them in a search strategy
  • Consult legal dictionaries or encyclopaedias for clarification
  • Select the right database for your needs: Te Waharoa or a specialised legal database? New Zealand or international content?
  • Trial a few searches then review and revise your results
  • Consult the help information on the database
  • Record your strategies and results
  • Critically evaluate the information
  • Cite your reference in accordance with the New Zealand Law Style Guide

Database selection

The table below shows which databases can be used to used find case law, legislation and commentary.

Database Case law Legislation Commentary
Te Waharoa (library search) N N Y
HeinOnline (subscription) N N Y
Lexis Advance (subscription) Y Y Y
Westlaw New Zealand (subscription) Y Y Y
NZLII NZ Legal Information Institute (free) Y Y Y
New Zealand Legislation (official & free) N Y N
Judicial Decisions Online (free) Y N N
Index New Zealand (free) N N Y