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University of Wollongong Australia

Legal Research

Search term connectors for legal databases

Search term connectors vary across the legal databases. Use this handy guide to quickly identify which connectors to use when researching across multiple databases.

Tip: print out the PDF as a handy reference.

Core skills

  WESTLAW LEXIS ADVANCE CCH INTELLICONNECT AGIS PLUS TEXT AUSTLII HEINONLINE LAWLEX PREMIUM
Find both terms in the same document
e.g. evidence AND admissibility
& (or a space) and AND AND and AND AND
Find either or both of the terms in the same document
e.g. brief OR evidence
or or OR OR or OR OR
To exclude a term from a search
e.g. evidence NOT briefs
% and not NOT NOT not NOT NOT
To find an exact phrase (phrase searching)
e.g. "legal rights"
" " " " " " " " " " " " " "
Find different endings (truncation searching)
e.g. educat*
(finds educate, educator, education, educating)
! ! (or *) * *
(substitutes an unlimited number of characters and can be placed anywhere in the word)
* * Not supported
Find terms with variable characters or spellings (wildcard searching)
e.g. wom?n
(finds women and woman)
* ?
(use one question mark per variable character)
? ?
(substututes a single character)
? ? Not supported

 

Use ( ) to search grouped clauses to form sub queries i.e. (watershed OR "water rights") AND planning will produce documents that contain either watershed or water rights and planning

See individual databases for a full list of search term connectors and search tips.


Advanced skills

  WESTLAW LEXIS ADVANCE CCH INTELLICONNECT AGIS PLUS TEXT AUSTLII HEINONLINE LAWLEX PREMIUM
To find words within a defined distance of each other (proximity searching) Where n is a number Where n is a number Where n is a number Enter a space before and after the operator Where n is a number Where n is a number Not supported
Search terms within n terms of each other in any order /n
e.g. person /3 jurisdiction
/n
e.g. person /3 jurisdiction
w/n
e.g. person w/3 jurisdiction
%10
e.g. person %10 jurisdiction
w/n
e.g. person w/3 jurisdiction
~n (or w/n)
e.g. "watershed planning"~10
(search for watershed within 10 words of planning)
 
Search terms in the same sentence in any order /s /s w/sen        
Search terms in the same paragraph in any order /p /p w/par        
First term precedes the second by n terms +n
(or +s for sentence or +p for paragraph)
onear/n
(or pre/n)
f/n !n pre/n
(or near for within 50 words)
   

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