Library Blog

Topic Selection & Directed Research

Two laptop computers and papers with writing.

To graduate from RWU Law, each student must complete the school’s writing requirement “under the direct supervision of a professor or director of an institute” during which the student “must write an individually authored paper that reflects substantial legal research; presents a legal argument that is well-developed, organized, and supported; is at least 5500 words long; and is of sufficient quality to earn a grade of “C” or higher.”

One way this requirement can be fulfilled is by writing a directed research paper, an excellent opportunity to work closely with a supervisor on a topic within the law that is uniquely interesting to you. 

Once you have a supervisor who has agreed to work with you, you can move on to choosing your topic and focus. Topic selection is an exciting and work-intensive part of the writing process, and so we are here to remind you of the multitude of resources available to you beyond your supervisory professor. The law librarians are ready and willing to help you identify resources and discuss your research plan. Regardless of where you are in your topic selection process, from having a vague idea to narrowing in on a focused issue, meeting with a research librarian is an invaluable step to help formalize your thesis and research trajectory.  
The library also has digital and print resources for all stages of the writing process, from topic selection to editing and footnotes. If your learning style is more compatible with face-to-face brainstorming, the library also provides individualized research consultations for students working on a directed research paper which focus on developing research strategies based on your individual needs. To schedule a research consultation with a law librarian, contact us via Ask a Librarian, or by email at

Furthermore, we encourage students to meet with Dr. Justin Kishbaugh, Associate Director of Academic Success & Professor of Writing. (If you are interested in scheduling a writing consultation, he can be reached at

Looking for inspiration? Try browsing the Lexis Legal News Hub and Westlaw Today for up-to-date legal news and the cutting-edge issues facing lawyers and legal scholars today. If you want something a bit more off the beaten path, you can peruse Thomson Reuters’s Legally Weird blog, a great source for legal questions presented in emerging and unique areas of the law.

Here are other helpful resources:  

We look forward to working with you!

Library Blog