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Research Review: Advanced Legal Writing

Natural Language and Terms and Connectors Searching

There are two way to search on sophisticated legal research systems such as Westlaw and Lexis Advance – natural language searching and terms and connectors searching.

Terms and Connectors Mechanics - Westlaw

Terms and Connectors Searching - Keep It Simple - Westlaw

Although it is possible to formulate elaborate searches, most research needs are met by relatively simple searches.

Many search follow the pattern of: keyword /S keyword /S keyword

Just try to keep a few things in mind as you formulate simple searches.

Westlaw Edge Example

After thinking of some likely keywords:

  • Type nouns in singular form
  • Truncate your verbs
  • Put some connectors between your keywords

If your initial search doesn't work, try some alternative terms for you keywords.