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Researching & Writing a Scholarly Paper for Law Library Guide: A guide to authoring a scholarly paper

This guide combines guidelines for researching and writing scholarly papers, with a specific focus on legal writing.

The goal of a scholarly paper

The main goal is to produce an original work.

This can be done in the following ways:

  • Bringing a new interpretation to known material
  • Reinterpreting an existing theory in a new context
  • Improving an existing theory
  • Developing a new perspective
  • Bringing new evidence to an old issue
  • Testing an existing idea in a new way
  • Being cross-disciplinary and using different methodologies
  • Investigating a study on something not previously known 

Motivation for producing a scholarly paper

Understanding your motivation for completing your scholarly paper will help you to maintain commitment to completing your paper.

Motivation can be from many different factors including fulfilling requirements, stimulating change, investigating situations and revealing facts, helping people, or getting / keeping a job. It is best to understand why you are completing your project.

Writing a scholarly paper

There are two golden rules of writing:

  • Write early and write often
    • the more you write, the easier it becomes and it becomes a habit
  • Don't get it right, get it written
    • drafting helps you to clarify your thoughts, start by writing the parts you are clear on, this identifies the bits that need more work