My hypothesis was that a group of law students who research a problem together will learn legal research better than students who work individually. I further hypothesized that if the group research could be undertaken during class time under the direct supervision of the instructor and the teaching assistant, the students would be less intimidated by manual research tools and would be better prepared to work on their own. The following three-step method was employed: (1) the students read about the tool; (2) the instructor discussed the tool in class; and (3) immediately following the discussion, students went to the library to work in groups in the presence of the instructor. The third step, which departs from standard practice, has been the focus of the experiment and is likewise the focus of this article.
Thomas Michael McDonnell, Joining Hands and Smarts: Teaching Manual Legal Research Through Collaborative Learning Groups, 40 J. Legal Educ. 363 (1990), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/281/.