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Generate Search Term

LEGAL RESEARCH: Generating Search Terms

QuestionAnswer
Categories of Information for generating search terms * Parties * Places and Things * Potential Claims and Defenses * Relief
Search Terms: Increasing Breadth Increasing breadth with synonyms and related terms: title <> ownership <> possession
Search Terms: Increasing Depth Increasing depth with varying levels of abstraction: intimate partners unmarried cohabitants boyfriend, girlfriend
If you know the applicable legal rule: * Prioritize terms describing the rule first. * Narrow results with terms describing facts.
If you do not know the applicable legal rule: * Prioritize terms describing facts. * Use search results to identify applicable legal rules.
Two Search Approaches: #1 Source-driven searching: Identify a source first, then search for content.
Two Search Approaches: #2 Content-driven searching: Search for content first, then narrow the results by jurisdiction and type of authority.
What sources will be included in my search? Only those you select.
What content will the search identify? * Documents that address the subject you select within the source * Documents containing the words in a word search
What sources will be included in my search? All forms of authority
What content will the search identify? * Documents containing the words in a word search (with a literal search engine) * Documents that appear relevant to the search terms (with a non-literal search engine)
Search Approaches: #1 Choose source-driven searching when you know the source of the information you need.
Search Approaches: #2 Search results will typically be narrower than with a content-driven search. * Narrower search results can be easier to review. * You may need to search multiple sources for complete information.
Search Approaches: #3 Use content-driven searching when you are not sure which source you need.
Search Approaches: #4 Search results will typically be broader than with a source-driven search. * Results can include information from sources you would not have considered using. * Broad search results make post-search filtering critical.
Created by: MEBrock