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Thinking about Legal Research Problems

By Paul D. Callister, JD, MSLIS

Library Director & Associate Professor of Law

Picking out Descriptive Words and Phrases

Sample Problem:  Identify What You Know and Pick your Terms

Get the who, what, where, when and how?  Identify terms of art, potential subject headings and sub-headings, cites to any law, and terms describing distinguishing facts or legal issues which may prove critical to solving legal issues.  After identifying these terms, think of synonyms.  Beware of acronyms and "red herrings" (i.e., any time you chose to include a term as part of your search there is the danger that you may exclude certain relevant documents).

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