Module 4: Collecting the Law

This module teaches the fourth stage of the policy surveillance process: collecting and building the law. 

To collect the law, researchers find and gather legal citations relevant to their topic in each jurisdiction being studied and then capture the text of the law in one document per jurisdiction. 

From there, researchers build the law by organizing the collected law to create the full legal text that is used to code.  

This module provides a step-by-step guide to collecting the law, by teaching you how to: 

  • Refine citations and search strategy based on scope. 
  • Record the search strategy. 
  • Record refined citations on a Master Sheet document. 
  • Collect relevant laws. 

The module then provides a step-by-step guide to building the law, by teaching you how to: 

  • Organize the law into folders. 
  • Organize laws by jurisdiction and hierarchy, and chronologically for longitudinal projects. 
  • Create legal text. 

Available Resources 

Below, you will find a link to a slide deck that explains this stage in the policy surveillance process. 

You will also find templates of the documents you can use to collect and build the law, including guides and templates for making a master sheet and an amendment tracker. 

Module 5 >>

The Learning Library was developed using funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with modules supported in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ChangeLab Solutions under Cooperative Agreement Number NU38OY000141. The views expressed in written materials or publications and by the speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.