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Legal Research Modules: Lesson Two- What is a Statute?

Modules and lessons for excellence in legal research and research strategies.

Preparing to Practice

Find the 2018 U.S. Code on Govinfo.gov. What is the subject of Title 46?

Introduction to Statutes

These videos summarize the statutory publication process and introduce the U.S. Code. After watching them, take the quiz. If you want extra practice on this topic, check out the "preparing to practice" column in the lower left corner. This is a place to practice what you've learned in the videos before moving on to the next lesson.

What is a statute?

Although this module focuses on federal statutory research, you will find that most states follow a similar statutory publication scheme. In the majority of U.S. jurisdictions, statutes are initially published as slip laws, then published annually in session laws, then organized topically and published in a statutory code.

What is the U.S. Code?

The official U.S. code is published every 6 years, with the most recent U.S. Code version being the 2018 edition. Although the official code includes an annual supplement, the unofficial versions on Westlaw and Lexis are updated rapidly, making them useful tools for identifying more recent statutory changes.

Quiz

Next Lesson

Congratulations! You've completed Lesson 2. Click here to move on to Lesson 3- Finding Statutes. Want more practice? Try the questions in the "Preparing to Practice" section in the bottom left column.