Westlaw Databases

Did you know that:

  1. Using the advanced search option in the Legal Research Center allows you to narrow your search by date, citation, title and author?
  2. You can access user guides for dozens of topics as well as access tutorials and exercises for more efficient researching?
  3. You can download articles straight to your Kindle?
  4. The career focus tab has information and resources for job search strategies, law job search engines, interview tips and more?

Database Search Strategies

Natural Language v. Terms and Connectors

Natural Language:

The natural language search box allows you to search for articles using plain English terminology. Just type in a phrase using terms that describe the main concept of your topic. Westlaw recognizes the legal terminology and filters out the articles. Using a natural language search will bring relevant and irrelevant search results. The more specific your terms, the more precise your results will be.

Terms & Connectors

Searching with the Terms and Connectors search box allows for a more precise search.

What are connectors?

Connectors are symbols that stand for different search terminology, ie

Connector: AND

Type: &

To Retrieve documents that contain: Both search terms

Example  1: narcotics & arrest


Connector: OR

Type: a space

To Retrieve documents that contain: Either search term, or both terms

Example  2: car automobile


Connector: Phrase

Type: ” ”

To Retrieve documents that contain: Search terms appearing in the exact order within the quotation marks.

Example  3: “attractive nuisance”


The above user guide contains the symbols and meanings for terms and connectors to help you draft a specific search phrase.


Another way to restrict the search is to utilize the fields boxes of the advanced search option. Use these to assign terms to Author, Title, etc for more specific recall of results.

Search within results

Once you’ve retrieved your first set of results for your highly specific search phrase, you can narrow the results even more by searching within the results. Click “Locate in Result” at the top of the results page.


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