Connectors Connectors host! /p intoxicat! or dr*nk! or alcohol! /s guest • After you have decided on the terms that you will use in your search, the next step is to connect each key term and its alternatives with the other key terms and their alternatives. • A connector specifies the relationship between the terms on either side of the connector. The Most Commonly Used Connectors Space = Or host! /p intoxicat! dr*nk! alcohol! /s guest or host! /p intoxicat! or dr*nk! or alcohol! /s guest • A space between two terms means “or”. • You could type in the word “or” if that is easier to remember. • In the query above, host! and guest are required terms along with the expansion of any one, two, or three of the terms intoxicat! or dr*nk! or alcohol!. The Most Commonly Used Connectors /p = Same Paragraph host! /p intoxicat! dr*nk! alcohol! /s guest • The /p connector requires that the terms on one side of the /p connector be in the same paragraph as the terms on the other side of the connector. No particular order is required. • In the above search any expansion of host! must be in the same paragraph as any expansion of intoxicat! or dr*nk! or alcohol! (or any expansions of the any two or all three of the alternative terms). The Most Commonly Used Connectors /s = Same Sentence host! /p intoxicat! dr*nk! alcohol! /s guest • The /s connector requires that the terms on one side of the /s connector be in the same sentence as the terms on the other side of the connector. No particular order is required. • In the query above, guest must be in the same sentence of the expansion of any one intoxicat! or dr*nk! or alcohol! (or any expansions of the any two or all three of the alternative terms). More Connectors: & = Same Document host! /p intoxicat! dr*nk! alcohol! /s guest & insurance • The & connector requires that the terms on one side of the & connector be in the same document as the terms on the other side, whether two terms or 200 pages apart. • A document with good on page two and faith on page 50 most likely won’t be discussing a good-faith issue. The & connector is valuable only in limited situations. More Connectors: & = Same Document The & connector is valuable in the following situations. • If you think one term in your query may not appear near your other query terms in the documents you want to retrieve, use the & connector. host! /p intoxicat! dr*nk! alcohol! & insurance • Use the & connector when you are searching for terms in several sections of the document. (More about this type of search later). More Connectors Quotation Marks (“ ”) = Phrase • Quotation marks around a phrase or term of art, such as “limited liability”, are used only when the concept is invariably stated the same way each time it is used. • Consider whether the phrase could appear another way, such as “liability was limited”. • A safer search would be to require limited and liability to be within the same sentence or within a specified number or words of each other. More Connectors /n = Number of Terms • /n requires that the terms on one side of the /n connector be within a certain number of terms of those on the other side. No particular order is required and grammatical structure is ignored. liability /3 limited • N represents any number between 1 and 250, for example, /3 or /150. • /n is most often used when the words on either side should be fairly close together but are not invariably in the same order. liability /3 limited would retrieve both limited liability and liability was limited. More Connectors The Plus Connectors (+) Order the Terms • +s, +p/, +n connectors require that the terms on the left of the connector precede the terms on the right within the specified relationship. under-ground +4 tank • This query requires that underground precedes tank by no more than four words. Any word(s) can appear between storage and tank. • This connector is often used when a word must appear twice within the specified relationship. jones +5 jones could be used to find references to Jones v. Jones. Connectors and Expanders Reference List Connectors/Expanders A full list of all connectors and expanders with brief explanations of their use can be accessed from the Search page in westlaw.com.® Reordering Connectors Use of Parentheses • Words within parentheses are processed first and then treated as a unit. • (defect! /s design!) “product liability” retrieves either any expansion of defect within the same sentence as any extension of design or “product liability”. • Parentheses are useful when you are searching for citations to multiple statutes: (42 +3 1981) (15 +3 311) will retrieve mention of 42 USCA 1981 or 15 USCA 311. Your Turn All the passengers getting off a flight from Miami are taken to a small room at the airport by the Miami police. They are questioned and their clothing and luggage are searched. • What is the legal issue? Can police detain passengers search and seize their clothing and luggage without probable cause. • What are your key terms? search! seiz! /s clothing luggage back-pack /p airport air- plane plane & “probable cause” “search and seizure” /p airport air-plane plane /p clothing luggage back-pack /p “probable cause” • Above are two possible searches. There are many other possible searches. • Neither search is right or wrong. Usually it takes a few tries before you retrieve the number of documents you need to feel confident that you have found enough relevant documents to continue your research, but not so many as to be overwhelming. Your Turn Again Senator Jones has been insisting that the right to contribute any amount to to a political candidate is constitutionally protected and any limitation would be a violation of the First Amendment right of free speech. Is he right? • What is the legal issue? Pick out the key terms, add reasonable alternatives, and decide on the connectors that will join each term and its alternative with the other terms and their alternatives. You probably won’t have a problem at all!
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