Mini Syllabus

Print Mini Syllabus
Course ID: PAR222
Title: Paralegal Research
Modality: Internet
Credit Hours: 3.00

Course Section Information

Institution: Rio Salado College

Section: 14764

Term: Fall 2014

Start Date: 8/25/2014

Weeks: 8

Last date to withdraw: None

Instructor: Steven Duplissis

Course Materials

Be sure that you have all the necessary materials prior to the start date of your course.

Required Software:

Microsoft Word

Required Textbook:

Title: Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing
Author: Hames
ISBN: 9780558743703 or 9781256977858

Rio Salado College has developed a unique Textbook Savings Program that uses customized textbooks and saves students up to 50% off the original price of textbooks. This textbook is included in the Textbook Savings Program and has been customized specifically for this course at Rio Salado College by Pearson Custom Publishing so that it contains information most relevant to the course. Your course materials are available through the Rio Salado College Bookstore.  All materials should be verified by ISBN before purchasing at the Rio Salado Bookstore or from another seller.

Course Description and Competencies

Official Course Description
Role of the paralegal in the legal research process. Includes various types of and sources for legal research. Also covers components and use of case law and briefs in addition to use of secondary sources and digests.
Official Course Prerequisites
Official Course Competencies
  1. Describe the role of the paralegal in the research process.
  2. List types of materials found in law libraries.
  3. Describe the sources of U.S. law.
  4. Explain the purpose of case law.
  5. Compare and contrast types of case law publications.
  6. List and define the components of a case.
  7. Explain the purpose of a case brief.
  8. Locate and interpret state and federal statutes.
  9. Review state and federal cases.
  10. Use secondary sources to complete legal research.
  11. Explain components of digests.
  12. Use various types of digests.
  13. Explain procedures used to shepardize a case.
  14. Describe different types of computer-assisted legal research.
  15. Complete computer-assisted legal research.

Course Requirements

  • You must complete all the assignments in the course to receive a passing grade.
  • Exam: You must take the final exam.
  • You must earn an average of 70% or better to pass the course. Your final grade is based on the total points you earn for the course from quizzes and examinations.
  • Note: All correspondence with your instructor must contain your name, class, and section number. Work cannot be graded and credit cannot be issued without this information.
  • Rio Course Announcements: You are required to check the course announcements regularly for important course information. It is located on your Student Portal.

Time Requirements

Remember that this is a three credit-hour class. As such, you will need to dedicate significant time to this course. Plan to spend at least three hours on course content and at least six hours on homework for a total of at least nine hours each week. Be prepared to double your weekly class and study time if you choose an accelerated calendar.

Grading Procedure and Scale

Grading Procedure

There are 180 possible points for this course.

7 Quizzes = 70 points
5 Projects = 50 points
Final Exam = 60 points
Total Points Possible = 180 points

Grading Scale

Letter grades for assignments, examinations, and the course will be determined by the following scale:

162 – 180 points = A (90% - 100%)
144 – 161 points = B (80% - 89%)
126 – 143 points = C (70% - 79%)
108 – 125 points = D (60% - 69%)
0 - 107 points = F (0% - 59%)

Please Note: The grading procedure for this course is based on the total number of points possible.

The grading scale is administered equally to all students in the course. Do not expect to receive a grade higher than that earned by your total points. There will be no "point adjustments" made for such things as "class participation" or other subjective factors.

Please note: Extra credit is not available for this course.


Submitting Assignments

All assignments are listed under the "Reading Assignment" box and in the "Assessing Your Learning" section. The lessons can be accessed from the "Syllabus and Lessons" links on your Course Section Home Page.

Note to students: Keep a copy of everything you submit.

Copyright Acknowledgements

Some images used in courses are licensed as follows: Accunet/AP Multimedia Archive,,, EBSCO Image Collection.

Honors Program

If you are taking this course for Honors credit, you must complete all assessments, including the Honors Project(s). The Honors Project(s) are listed in one or more lessons of the course and are designated for "Honors Students." Failure to complete the Honors Project(s) will result in a failing grade in the course and a loss of Honors credit.

Final Grade Options

  • Letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) - awarded if the student completes all work, including the final exams.
  • Extension (in lieu of Incomplete grade) - Students may request an extension because of illness or other extenuating circumstances, if they have been doing acceptable work. The instructor will define the requirements and timelines to complete the course. Please Note: Instructors are not obligated to give extensions.
  • Withdrawal - Students may submit a withdrawal request on or prior to the "Last Date to Withdraw" indicated in their RioLearn Gradebook.

    Instructors are unable to process withdrawals on behalf of a student. A student wishing to withdraw from a class within the stated timeline must do so by visiting In extreme circumstances, students do have the option of requesting a complete withdrawal from the college by providing Student Enrollment Services with appropriate documentation.

    Before withdrawing, students should consider contacting their instructor and/or Rio's Counseling Services to see what options are available to help them stay in class.

    STUDENTS – STOP Before You Drop! A withdrawal request is irrevocable, and may affect future Financial Aid, Visa status, Veteran benefit eligibility, scholarship eligibility and may delay graduation. Please be sure that it is the right option for you before submission.


  • Credit/No Credit Option (P/Z) - This course may be taken on a credit/no credit basis. See detailed information about the (P/Z) option here.

Late or Missing Assignments

Refer to the Gradebook for the due dates of your assignments; all assignments are due by midnight (Arizona time).

If you need to request an extension for an assignment, a request must be made to your instructor via the Riolearn Gradebook prior to the due date. You can request a due date change from the "Modify Due Dates" link under the "Due Dates" tab of your Gradebook. Please state a reason for the request and click "Save New Due Dates". The Gradebook will inform you if the request has been approved by your instructor.

Upon instructor approval, assignments may be accepted for up to one week after the due date. A minimum automatic deduction of 10% of the points will be assessed. Extenuating circumstances may be determined on rare occasions and an extension allowed without a deduction, but only at the sole discretion of the instructor.

A 0 (zero) will be given for assignments submitted longer than seven (7) days after the due date.

Discussion board postings (if applicable) will not be accepted for credit when posted after the close of the discussion week.

No assignments will be accepted after the last day of the course (end of term); instructors may exercise discretion under extenuating circumstances.

Please acknowledge you have read the syllabus.

Course Completion Policy

  • A student who registers for a Distance Learning course is assigned a "start date" and an "end date." It is the student's responsibility to note due dates for assignments and to keep up with the course work.
  • If a student falls behind, she/he must contact the instructor and request an extension of her/his end date in order to complete the course.
  • It is the prerogative of the instructor to decide whether or not to grant the request.
  • You must complete all the assignments in the course to receive a passing grade. 
  • You must earn an average of 70% or better to pass the course.  In addition, you must earn at least 60% on the final exam to pass the course.
  • In order to earn a certificate a student must earn a "C" or better in all required courses.

Library Services

The Rio Salado Library is committed to student success and provides a variety of materials and services to enhance student learning.  Utilizing Rio’s online library for your research is the best way to ensure that your sources are validated, authoritative, and appropriate for college-level coursework. Librarians are available to help you at all times via our Ask a Librarian live chat service. Also, the How Do I..? Streaming Video Series provides instruction on how to use the online library to find books, articles, ebooks, streaming films, and more.

Please note that when library materials (e.g., articles, ebooks, and streaming media) are integrated into your lesson content, you will see the notation “…provided to you through the Rio Salado Library.

Academic Misconduct

Academic Misconduct includes cheating, conspiring to cheat, soliciting to cheat, attempting to cheat, plagiarism, fabrication on an assignment, or other forms of dishonest presentation.

Posting assessments on an unauthorized web site, soliciting assessment answers and the unauthorized acquisition of assessments, assessment answers, or other academic material is cheating.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use of paraphrase or direct quotation of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment.  It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling or sharing of term papers or other academic materials.  Information gathered from the Internet and not properly identified is also considered plagiarism.

We expect every student to produce his/her original, independent work. Any student whose work indicates a violation of the MCCCD Academic Misconduct Policy (including cheating and plagiarism) can expect sanctions as specified in the college catalog.

Rio Salado College uses software that uncovers plagiarism from student to student and other data sources on the Internet. If a student is found to have plagiarized content, grade consequences will be applied in accordance with departmental policies.

Civility Policy

The faculty of Rio Salado place a high value on the importance of general ethical standards of academic behavior and expect that communication between students and instructors or among students shall maintain the level of formality and mutual respect appropriate to any college teaching/learning situation.

Language or behavior that is rude, abusive, profane, disruptive, or threatening will not be tolerated. Activity of this type is Academic Misconduct as defined in MCCCD Policy AR 2.3.11. Students engaging in such behavior will be removed from the course with a failing grade. Additional sanctions may be applied pursuant to AR 2.3.11.

Requirement for Active Class Participation

Please note that students may be withdrawn from class for non-participation.

If you receive financial aid of any kind, it is your responsibility to protect your eligibility to receive financial aid by meeting the active participation requirements of this class.

Honors Program

If you are taking this course for Honors credit, you must complete all assessments, including the Honors Project(s). The Honors Project(s) are listed in one or more lessons of the course and are designated for “Honors Students.” Failure to complete the Honors Project(s) will result in a failing grade in the course and a loss of Honors credit.

Change of Address

Please notify Course Support at (480) 517-8243 or 1-800-729-1197 or by email at Please include your name, student number, phone number, and new address including city, state, and zip code.

Academic Adjustment Needs & Disability Resources and Services

In accordance with Rio Salado College and Maricopa Community College District policies, all students should have equal access to course materials and technology. Please contact the Disability Resources and Services Office prior to the start date of your course at 480-517-8562 if you have any of the following needs:

  • you are a student requiring an academic adjustment due to a documented disability (as protected by The Americans with Disability Act Amendment Act)

  • you are experiencing difficulty accessing course materials because of a disability

  • you are pregnant or parenting and would like to discuss possible academic adjustments (as protected under Title IX)


1 Maricopa Community College District Administrative Regulation 2.8.1:

2 Rio Salado College Disability Resources and Services website:


Course content may vary from this outline to meet the needs of this particular group.

Student Solution Center

Rio Salado College is dedicated to a quality learning experience and has provided the Student Solution Center webpage as a resource for students to raise issues to our attention. We look forward to the opportunity to provide an equitable solution for all involved parties. For grading or instructional issues, students should first contact their faculty member(s) in accordance with the Instructional Grievance Process. For non-instructional complaints, students may contact the Conduct & Community Standards team by telephone at 480-517-8749 or 480-517-8152, or email at Students may also contact their state regulatory agency; the Arizona SARA Council; and/or the Higher Learning Commission to escalate their concerns.

Rio Salado College Copyright

Course Content © Copyright 2016 Rio Salado College. All Rights Reserved.

Contact Us

Please see the following page for contact information.