Do a quick preliminary analysis, and take the time to answer who, what, when, where (jurisdiction), why, and how.
Further questions can help keep you organized and limit your work.
Clarify your Questions
Keep a detailed record of what you researched, what you found, and how long you spent on that issue. This is especially helpful when your entire work product is mostly an explanation of how you spent your time.
One great way to back up your answer to these kinds of questions is to provide a summary of your research log.
Your research is more credible—your employer will be more confident in your final answer—if you show clearly that you checked authoritative secondary sources and thoroughly reviewed relevant primary law.
Ask your supervisor for recommendations on particular treatises or practices guides, or use a research guide from a law library. Types of secondary sources include: Legal encyclopedias, Law reviews, ALRs, Treatises, Practice guides, Looseleaf services, and others.
Legal research is almost always iterative. It can involve multiple issues that intersect in complicated ways. As you go through each research step, keep track of paths that you will address after you finish exploring your initial hypothesis.
You might have to go through the many steps in the process more than once if:
Your research log should help you stay organized. Make sure you understand the background doctrine and the important primary sources before you move on to related issues, so that you can make effective use of your time.
Check in with your supervisor to make sure you're on the right track.
If you've identified legal concepts that are new to you, clarify their importance with your supervisor.