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The Steps to Researching and Writing a Scholarly Article: Picking a Topic

This guide will walk you through the process of researching and writing a scholarly article from preemption check to Bluebooking

Picking a Topic

When selecting a topic you may need to consult with your journal editor, seminar professor, or independent study supervisor. You may be asked to present more than one idea. Often during the preemption process, it is determined that some topics are not as ideal as others, so having multiple topics at the ready is useful.

Your topic ideas should interest you. You are going to be spending a semester or more working with the idea. Authors often pull ideas from their personal lives, academic interests or classes, or areas they would like to work in post-graduation. If you are having difficulty in coming up with topic ideas, here are a few sources that may help you:

Bloomberg Law (only available to Fordham Law) offers coverage of current events in various topical areas of law including corporate, environmental, healthcare, and intellectual property to name a few. To find legal news on Bloomberg Law try one of these method:

  1. Visit the Practice Center for a specific area of law (e.g. International Trade, Patents & Trade Secrets, Health)
  2. Visit the News & Analysis section. Bloomberg Law offers Law Analysis and Law News. Law Analysis provides a more detailed examination of a legal issues while Law News is general legal news.

Major Newspapers will discuss important court decisions, laws, and regulations. Through the Maloney Library you can access a number of different newspapers, and you can also use the Fordham University Library's newspapers.

United States Law Week Circuit Splits (only available to Fordham Law via Bloomberg Law) provides monthly lists of U.S. circuit splits. A circuit split is where at least two different U.S. Circuit Courts has issued conflict legal opinions on an issue. If appealed, Circuit splits are often selected for review by the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Legal Blogs are a great source for recent legal events and legal conflicts. The ABA Blawg Directory offers a fairly comprehensive list of blogs by topic and region. 

You can visit some or all of these sources to develop topics. If you are still having difficulty, please stop by the Reference Desk in the Maloney Library, and we will be happy to help you.