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JOUR201 - News Writing and Reporting I

Library and LexisNexis Academic overview for students in JOUR201.

Creating A Search - Step 1: Knowing Where to Look

When searching LexisNexis - it is important to be sure you are looking in the CORRECT place for information.

Keep the following tips in mind as you prepare to search Lexis:

Creating A Search Step 2: Using Widgets versus Advanced Search

Once you know where to look (News, Legal or Business) - you can decide whether or not you want to use one of the search widgets (search boxes) or advanced search menus.

Lexis Nexis Widgets and Advanced Search Screenshot

Use one of the available search widgets - located at the bottom of the main search screen - when you want simple searches on the following:

  • Search the News - simple keyword searches of all dates Lexis covers
  • Look up a Legal Case - search by case number, parties or legal topic
  • Get Company Information - retrieve a company snapshot 

Go to the Search By Content Type link and select News, Legal or Company for more in-depth searches using advanced tools (listed below). 

LexisNexis Advanced Search Aids

Within the single search box (not in the search widgets appearing on the bottom of the main LexisNexis screen) you can use the following search aids to refine your search:

/n command (where “n” equals any number you specify between 2 and 255)
Allows you to specify the number of words that appear between two search terms

A rule of thumb:

Use /2 when searching for a person's name:
George /2 Bush

Use /5 when searching for items in the same phrase: 
Hogan /5 budget*

Use /25 when searching for items in the same sentence:
keystone pipeline /25 drilling

Use /50 when searching for items in the same paragraph (NOTE: You can use /p instead of /50 for the same result)
higher education /50 funding
higher education /p funding


! symbol: truncation (multiple characters)
Example: A search of Econ! will result in entries including terms such as: Economic, Economics, Econometric, Econoline, etc.
[Note: You will need to watch for “false hits” when you use truncation! In the example above, results could also include such terms as Econoline, the automobile.]

* symbol: truncation (single character)
Example: A search of rain* will result in entries with rain, rains, rainy in the search results, but not rained.