The purpose of this literature scan was to locate and summarise the available research evidence on information services, to inform VLA on the efficient and effective use of information service resources. This was a scan of the literature, not an exhaustive review. Therefore, the methods used for this literature scan reflect the investigative nature of the exercise.
The Foundation developed a research protocol which defined the parameters of the scan, and set out the inclusion criteria and the search strategy. A broad inclusive approach was taken as this was an exploratory scan of the available literature. The inclusion criteria comprised academic and grey literature studies published between 2013 and 2018, with a focus on legal information services in Australia and internationally. The literature was sourced by:
- searching academic databases
- searching key websites, including over 30 Legal Aid Commissions and legal education organisations
- identifying relevant material in the reference lists of other reports or articles using the snowballing method.
Additionally, VLA alerted the Foundation to a number of recent reports on community legal education and VLA information programs.
Table A2 (Appendix) shows the search terms which were used for the literature scan when searching academic databases, key websites and Google-searching. Using the snowballing method, relevant material was identified from the reference lists of other reports or articles and included as part of the literature scan.
A total of 69 pieces of literature are included in this literature scan, Table 2 provides details and summaries of this literature in chronological order from 2018–2013. Six pieces of this literature have been summarised in greater detail and appear in chronological order from 2018–2013 on pages 10–14. These six reports were assessed as being of particular interest to the purpose of this literature scan.
Through the scan for legal information literature, a small number (8) of health-related literature resulted, Table A1 (Appendix) provides details and summaries of this healthrelated literature.
In addition to the literature scan, the Foundation conducted a jurisdictional environmental scan (pages 5–7) reviewing the legal information channels used by 34 legal service organisations in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. This scan provides understanding and situated context for the delivery of legal information services.
Three key themes emerged from the scan of literature: effectiveness, barriers, and innovation and technology which are outlined on page 8 of this report.