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Legal Research Skills

What are journal articles?

Journal articles are written by experts and provide scholarly analysis of legal issues based on research and review of the literature. They are a good source to use to support your analysis and discussion of a legal topic. 

The databases listed below index different journals in different subject areas. Search across a range of databases to make sure you are finding all the relevant articles on your topic. 

Scroll down to view instructions (and some screenshots) for searching each of the databases.

Tip: Articles found via index databases may not be available in full-text in the same database. To find the full-text article, search for the journal title in the SCU Library search to check whether SCU has access to the journal in a different database. You can then browse to the relevant volume and issue of the journal to find the article you are looking for.

Key databases for journal articles

Subscription databases

Free databases

Westlaw AU

To search for journal articles through Westlaw AU:

  1. Under Content Type, click Law Reviews & Journals
  2. Click Advanced next to the search box
  3. Use the advanced search form to search by keyword, citation or legislation cited
  4. On the results page, expand the Publication Type filter on the left-hand side to limit to Law Reviews & Journals

Selecting law journals in Westlaw AU


Limiting Westlaw AU results to journals


To search for journal articles through Lexis+:

  1. Click Advanced Search below the main search box > select Secondary Materials from the drop-down menu
  2. Search for articles using keywords, or use the relevant fields to find articles citing legislation or cases
  3. On the results page, expand the Filters panel on the left-hand side. Under AU Secondary Materials heading, tick Journals (for full-text articles published by LexisNexis), Journal Citators (for abstracts of articles indexed in Lexis+) and/or Newsletters and Bulletins (for shorter practitioner articles published by LexisNexis).


To search for journal articles through Informit databases (including AGIS):

  1. Click Advanced Search
  2. Use the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of each search box to search using keywords, legislation, legal cases, or treaty
  3. On the results page, limit to Resource type > Journal
  4. Other relevant limits include Legal cases, Legislation, and Treaty

Informit advanced search screen


To find journal articles through HeinOnline:

  1. Click Advanced Search under the search box
  2. Search using keywords, legislation titles or case names
    • Selecting the Text field is recommended (for full-text searching)
  3. Optional: choose a topic from the Pathfinder Subject list to help narrow results.

HeinOnline Advanced Search screen


To find journal articles through AustLII:

  1. Click the drop-down arrow to the left of the main search bar > select Advanced Search
  2. Click Boolean Query and search using keywords and search operators
  3. Tick the box to select All Law Journals Databases

AustLII journal search