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Legal Research for Undergraduates

This guide provides information on legal research for UCLA undergraduates and non-law graduate students, faculty, and staff.

Terms and Connectors or Boolean Searching

One advantage of Nexis Uni is that it allows you to use terms and connectors searching (also called Boolean searching). In this type of searching, you use special words that tell the database exactly how to search cases, law review articles, news, and other sources. Although terms and connectors searching is not required for effective research, it can help you find relevant results more easily and exclude irrelevant results. 

Here's a cheat sheet to common terms and connectors:

Connector Returns Results With

term1 OR term2

Either or both of the terms

term1 AND term2

Both of the terms

term1 /3 term2

Both of the terms within 3 words of each other
term1 /s term2

Both of the terms within the same sentence

term1 /p term2

Both of the terms within the same paragraph

exact phrase

The exact phrase within the quotes, with no variations


Any variation on the term (e.g. infringes, infringed, infringing)

Use parentheses to group terms and connectors that should be read together.
For example: doctor OR nurse OR (hospital /3 employee OR staff)

For example:

  • COVID OR COVID-19 OR coronavirus /p Amazon OR Instacart
  • union /p Google OR Tesla OR "Whole Foods"
  • Uber OR Lyft OR "ride-share" OR "ride share" AND (AB OR Assembly /s 5) OR (Proposition OR Prop /s 22)

If you'd like to learn more about using connectors effectively, see the law library's workshop on Advanced Searching Techniques: