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Alternative Dispute Resolution Research

Information about researching common ADR methodologies, including arbitration, negotiation, mediation, and more.

Getting Started

What is "Alternative Dispute Resolution"?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a system of methodologies that parties can use to resolve disputes without resorting to litigation.  These include arbitration, mediation, negotiation, and more. 

The Legal Information Institute (LII) Wex online legal dictionary provides a helpful and succinct overview of ADR and its methods.

This research guide discusses materials and methods for researching ADR methodologies and practices in the Harvard Law School library and beyond.

Key Databases

Secondary Sources

Using Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are a great place to begin your research.  To learn more about secondary sources and how to use them, visit the following guide:

Encyclopedias & American Law Reports

Legal encyclopedias contain brief, broad summaries of legal topics. They provide introductions to legal topics and explain relevant terms of art. State encyclopedias can also be found on Westlaw and Lexis.

The American Law Reports contains in-depth articles on narrow topics of the law.  Use the following Indices to access the ALR.  Note: Lexis also has some ALR materials but Westlaw's are more complete.

ADR Treatises

Here is a selection of ADR treatises in our collection. Use HOLLIS to find more.

Study Aids

Practical Guidance




Peace Negotiations and Transitional Justice

Restorative Justice


Best Bets for ADR Decisions

Additional Resources

ADR at Harvard Law School


Additional Readings

Dispute System Design

About Dispute System Design

Dispute system design involves "the design of processes and of systems for preventing and managing disputes."  It is not merely making a decision about using a particular ADR method to resolve a dispute. Instead, it means creatively crafting ways to resolve novel, complicated disputes that feature diverse and competing variables and interests.

(Source: Rogers et al., Designing Systems and Processes for Managing Disputes (2013)).


Dispute System Design: Selected Articles and Book Chapters

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Credit and CC License


Thank you to Jennifer Allison for her work on the initial version of this guide.

CC License

Creative Commons License

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

You may reproduce any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included and it is shared in the same manner.