Legal research

About finding journal articles

Journal articles provide detailed analysis, opinions and arguments on areas of, or issues in, law. They are usually written by academics, practitioners or experts in the area. They can provide current information and commentary before it appears in textbooks. You may be asked to find them to support your arguments and opinions.

To find a known journal article, search the Library catalogue by the title of the journal then follow the links to the online version (Available online ) and choose the volume, issue and pages that you need. There may also be a search box to search for authors,article titles or phrases within that journal.

If the journal is only in print, the catalogue will display which Library the journal is kept at, the prefix ‘P’ for a periodical and the Shelf Number. You can place a request for the journal to be collected from the compactus for you to view in-person. Make sure you are logged into the Library Catalogue first and then click on the Request link. You will be notified by email once this issue has been collected for you. You can also check the Library catalogue for an online version of the article you require.

You may be asked to find journal articles on a legal topic, piece of legislation or a case. For this, you will need to search specialised law databases such as Lexis+, Westlaw AU or Informit.

Some of these databases may not give you the full text of the article, just the citation (reference). You will then have to search the Library catalogue on the full title of the journal to find whether it is online in a database or in print. There may be a Find It link within the databases that performs this search for you.

Databases may abbreviate the titles of journals. In AGLC referencing you must give the full title of the journal when you cite an article
e.g. ALJ is the abbreviation for the Australian Law Journal.

Here are some abbreviation sources you can use to find the full journal title:

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations   

Find the full title for many legal publication abbreviations from Commonwealth countries and the United States.

La Trobe University Library Legal Abbreviations Search   

A database of some of the most frequently encountered abbreviations.

Legal abbreviations – Monash University Library   

Use the full title of the law report or journal to find the link in the Curtin Library catalogue. You will not be able to link through to the law reporter from this Monash list.

Lexis+ CaseBase Abbreviations   

When logged into Lexis+, go to the Help link in the top right hand side of the screen and search for Citation Formatting.

FirstPoint Table of Abbreviations   

Where to find journal articles


To narrow your search results to journal articles, perform your search and then select the ‘Secondary Materials’ tab. You may then choose ‘Journals’ in the refine menu on the left hand side of the screen.

Lexis+ Help Lexis+ Live Training

Westlaw AU   

To narrow your search results to journal articles, select Journals on the search screen page before performing your search.

Westlaw AU: training and support videos


A journal article database covering many subjects including Australian legal topics.

Informit Knowledge Base

AustLII journals (Australasian Legal Scholarship Library)   

In the top right hand corner of the screen select the drop down arrow to choose the advanced search option and limit your search to “All law journals databases”.

CCH iKnowConnect   

Includes a range of resources in the subject of Taxation, Accounting and Business Law.

CCH iKnowConnect Help

Australian Family Lawyer   

Curtin students can access this journal title by completing the Family Law Section: Join Now page and selecting the ‘Student’ category under Tier 3 (complementary).

Index to legal periodicals & books full text (H.W. Wilson)   

This bibliographic database cites articles from legal periodicals and indexes law books that cover the following topics: administrative law, antitrust legislation, banking, constitutional law, domestic relations, environmental protection, estate planning, food, drug & cosmetic law, international law, labor law, landlord/tenant decisions, malpractice suits, minorities, multinational corporations, negligence, non-profit corporations, occupational health & safety, politics, probate, products liability, public law, real property, securities, tax law, and trade regulation.


Offers a large range of legal resources including the Law Journal Library, American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Association of American Law Schools (AALS), Canada Supreme Court Reports, English Reports, Full Reprint (1220-1867), European Center for Minority Issues, Federal Register/Code of Federal Regulations, Legal Classics, Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, Pentagon Papers, Treaties and Agreements Library, United States Code, U.S. Attorney General Opinions, U.S. Federal Legislative History Library, U.S. Presidential Library, U.S. Statutes at Large, the U.S. Supreme Court Library. It also contains the Intellectual Property Law Collection.

Business Source Ultimate   

Business Source Ultimate is the world’s definitive scholarly business database, providing the leading collection of bibliographic and full text content. As part of the comprehensive coverage offered by this database, indexing and abstracts for the most important scholarly business journals back as far as 1886 are included. In addition, searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,300 journals.


Proquest’s collections span six centuries, all disciplines and diverse content types. The collection includes journal articles, eBooks, newspapers, dissertations and theses, reports and so much more.
It provides simultaneous searching of all subscribed databases on the ProQuest platform.

JSTOR: Journal Storage   

A digital archives of fully searchable back issues of scholarly journals in anthropology, history, literature, Asian Afro American studies, finance, education, general science, mathematics, philosophy, political science, sociology and statistics.


Online journal service covering journal titles in the following subject areas: biomedicine, life science, clinical medicine, physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, humanities, and economics.

Westlaw UK   

Westlaw UK’s United Kingdom materials include UK case law and court documents, legislation, journals and law reviews. Westlaw UK also contains legal materials pertaining to the USA, European Union and Hong Kong.

Lexis Advance US Research   

Primary legal materials of the United States’ federal, states and territories and UK jurisdictions with a range of secondary sources including US and international law and business journals. Includes Shephard’s Citations.

Wiley Online Library   

Covers the subjects of business, finance and management, chemistry, computer science, earth science, education, engineering, law, life and medical sciences, mathematics and statistics, physics and psychology.

Taylor & Francis Online   

Provides access to journals, books and reference works published by Taylor & Francis, Routledge, Psychology Press and others.


Scopus is the world’s largest abstract and indexing database, offering access to 16,000 peer-reviewed titles from more than 4,000 international publishers.


Emerald indexes and provides the full articles for peer reviewed journals in the fields of management, information science and engineering. Also provides selected access to book series in business, management and social sciences.

Annual reviews   

Annual Reviews volumes are published each year for 29 focused disciplines within the Biomedical, Physical, and Social Sciences.

IGI Global