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MKT 3526 - The Legal Environment of Marketing: Consumer Protection Analysis Project

About the Project

Firms marketing to consumers face a very complex regulatory environment.  Consumer protection regulatory measures apply to unfair business practices that adversely affect consumers.  The purpose of this assignment is to inform you about regulation which impacts marketing/business activities and protects the interests of the consumer.

Step by Step: The Process

Step 1. Identify the topic of your project.

Once you identify the topic, do some brainstorming.  Think of why regulations or laws are needed in this area.  Also, think of some synonyms for the terms you are using.  This will come in handy when you are searching for information.

Example, if searching for predatory lenders, remember to keep terms and examples like payday loans and subprime mortgages in mind when you search.

 

Step 2. Search for information on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau site.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the agency tha enforces a lot of these laws and rules.  This is a great place to get started

Example, I searched for predatory lending.  I found over 12,000 results!  I can limit the results to various types of information: the Ask CFPB site, their blog, their newsroom, or their reports.  I chose blog; now I'm down to a little less than 3,000.  From here, I can look around and find more information on my topic--or maybe even ideas for limiting my topic.

Step 3. Ways to Find the Laws.

There are many resources you can use to find federal laws and regulations.  Here are a few of those ways...

 

Step 3a. Using FDsys.

GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government. You can search right from the homepage for keywords or phrases.  You can also use an advanced search or citation to find what you need.  Use the column on the left on your results page to limit what you find.

Example, I searched for predatory lending.  I found almost 5,000 results!  I clicked on the United States Code, which brought me down to less than 15 results.  From here, I can try to find laws that address my topic.

Step 3b. Using Congress.gov.

Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. The site provides access to accurate, timely, and complete legislative information for Members of Congress, legislative agencies, and the public.  Just enter your term in quotation marks, and click search.

Example, I searched for "predatory lending" and found almost 7 results! 

Step 3c. Using LexisNexis.

LexisNexis is a subscription database that contains all Federal laws from 1988 to the present. It also includes federal regulations, such as Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Attorney General Opinions, and Federal Acquisition Regulations and Supplements.  LexisNexis also contains codes for all 50 states and territories, plus constitutions, court rules, and Attorneys General Opinions.  It also contains State and Federal Cases.  You can search by keywords or by citation.

Example, I searched for Truth in Lending Act.  I found 1000 results!  But I'm interested in the actual law.  If I look at the column on the left, I can limit it by publication name to the United States Code Service.  This limits my results to under 100, with the actual code as the first result.

Step 4. Search for articles in law reviews and law journals about your topic and laws.

Law reviews (or law journals) are scholarly journals that focus on laws or legal issues.  They are normally published by an organization of law students at a law school or, sometimes, through a bar association.  They offer useful articles on the laws and topics you are researching.

Step 4a. Search for articles in law reviews and law journals about your topic in Legal Collection.

This is the best place to get started.  It is more user-friendly than other legal databases.  You can find articles with legal analyses and more.

Example, I searched for predatory lending.  I found over 250 results!  I can limit the results to peer reviewed articles; now I'm down to a little less than 20

Step 4b. Search for articles in law reviews and law journals about your topic in LexisNexis: U.S. Legal Reference.

Contains a ton of law review articles.  A little less user-friendly, but still a great resource.

Example, I searched for "predatory lending."  I found almost 1,000 results!  I can limit the results by publication name to American Bankruptcy Institute Journal; now I'm down to a little more than 20

Step 5. Search for articles in Business Source Complete, using the terms and laws you've identified.  (Depending on your topic, search Human Resources Abstracts.)

Business Source Complete is a great database for business articles  You can find articles from magazines, trade publications, and academic journals; you can also find SWOT analyses and industry profiles here.  This is a database you'll be using a lot in other classes.  Remember to look to the left to find ways to limit your results--including by date or peer review.  In this case, use it to find articles about your topic or law.

Example, I searched for Truth in Lending Act.  I found over 800 results!  I can limit the results to the last Peer Reviewed Journals; now I'm down to a little less than 150.  From here, I can try to find an article that really appeals to me, and maybe even see what subject terms are used in it to locate more articles like it.

Step 6. Search for articles in Google Scholar, using the terms or laws you've identified.

Google Scholar is like Google's smarter, older sibling.  You can find a lot of articles here--especially law review articles.  But only some will be full-text.  Remember to look to the left to limit your results by date.

Example, I searched for Truth in Lending Act.  I found over 127,000 results!  I can limit the results to the last 5 years, bringing be down to over 19,000 results!  Links to the right will let you know if you can access the full text of the articles.

Googling Gov Info

Add your search terms AFTER the site:.gov in the search box.