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Accessing Westlaw

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  1. Continue to WestlawNext Campus Research.

Contents:

Finding Sources by Topic

Basic Search| KeySearch | Advanced Search

There are 3 ways to search by topic. Infrequent or new users may want to use your own terms in Basic Search or KeySearch (select from a list of terms). Use Advanced Search if you are searching for a particular document or terms, or all documents containing specific information (i.e., all opinions written by a particular judge).

Basic Search

1. In the Basic Search text box, type your search using plain English language. For example:

wrongful death due to fraternity hazing

2. Select One or More Areas to Search

A great place to begin your research is by searching the following sources. They will help you identify important cases, statutes and regulations. You can hold down the Ctrl key to select more than one area to search.

American Jurisprudence 2nd is a comprehensive encyclopedia of state and federal law with citations to cases, statutes, regulations, practice guides, form books, treatises and law reviews.

American Law Reports contains attorney-written articles that summarize and analyze case law on a particular legal issue with citations to statutes, law reviews and treatises.

Journals and Law Reviews are published by a law school or bar association articles analyzing developments in the law, issues were there is a divided opinion among scholars or judges, or legal issues of social importance.

You may also limit your search to primary documents such as cases, statutes and regulations.

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KeySearch

KeySearch will help you select terms relating to your topic and create a search for you.

1. In the left panel under KeySearch, click on Go.

2. You can either:

Browse the topics and subtopics in the right frame by clicking the Browse icons. OR

Search the KeySearch topics and subtopics for specific terms. Type the terms in the text box in the left panel of the KeySearch page and click GO. A list of topics and subtopics containing the terms in their hierarchy is displayed. Select a topic or subtopic to search by clicking the Search icon next to the topic or subtopic.

3. Choose a source you want to retrieve documents from. A great place to begin your research is by searching the following sources. They will help you identify important cases, statutes and regulations. You can hold down the Ctrl key to select more than one area to search.

American Jurisprudence 2nd is a comprehensive encyclopedia of state and federal law with citations to cases, statutes, regulations, practice guides, form books, treatises and law reviews.

American Law Reports contains attorney-written articles that summarize and analyze case law on a particular legal issue with citations to statutes, law reviews and treatises.

Journals and Law Reviews are published by a law school or bar association and contain notes and articles analyzing and evaluating subject areas and developments in the law.

You may also limit your search to primary documents such as cases, statutes and regulations.

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Advanced Search

Use Advanced Search when you are searching for a particular document, you want to retrieve all documents containing a specific term or terms, or you want to restrict your search to a particular portion of the document. Knowledge of boolean searching is important.

Comparison of Westlaw and Lexis/Nexis Academic Search Features
Westlaw Campus Research

 

Connectors

and
or
not

Nesting yes
( )

Proximity

"your phrase"

/x in any order

/s in same sentence

/p in same paragraph

+s 1st term first in same sentence

+p 1st term first in same paragraph

x = insert a number

Truncation/Wildcard

! multi-character truncation

* single character substitution

- compound terms
Ex: good-will

Abbreviations

E.P.A.
insert period behind each letter

 

Lexis/Nexis Academic

 

Connectors

and
or
and not

Nesting yes
( )

Proximity

enter words in order for phrase

w/x in any order

w/p in same paragraph

w/s in same sentence

not w/x
1st term cannot be with x of 2nd term

x = insert a number

Truncation/Wildcard

! multi-character truncation

* single character substitution

Abbreviations

allcaps(abbreviation)
Ex: allcaps(EPA)

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Finding Specific Primary Documents

You can search for codes, statutes, regulations and court cases by citation, by title (court cases only), or by using Basic Search.

Find a Document by citation

Type the citation in the left panel; punctuation and spacing are not important.
50 U.S.C.A. 1861 or 115 stat 272 or 321fsupp2d24

Find a Document by title (cases only)

Type the one or more parties' name in the left panel. You do not need the correct order for this search to work. This is for court cases only.

Basic Search

1. In the Basic Search text box, type your search using plain English language. For example:

library records under the USA Patriot Act

2. Select One or More Areas to Search

Select the appropriate sources.

Codes & Statutes

Codes are a subject arrangement of currently in-force laws. Statutes are the full text of all laws published in chronological order.

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Regulations

Regulations are rules or orders issued by a government agency and often have the force of law.

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Court Cases

Decisions by the courts which establish judicial law as distinguished from law created by legislation.

Contact Us

Research Services Contact

Location: Library Addition, 1st Floor
Phone 619.594.6728  Text: 619.567.9743
Email: eref@sdsu.edu

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