From Law Library's Legal Research Skills Wiki

Main: Database Searching

General Information: Who can use them?   |   Where are they?   |   Selecting the right database   |   Terms used to describe the process of database searching
Search types: Phrases, truncation and wildcards   |   Field searching
Results: Broadening and narrowing   |   Too many or not enough results


Who can use them?
You can access almost all of the databases from anywhere with an internet connection, though they may not work as well on mobile devices. Use of the Library's subscription databases is restricted to current students and staff of the University of Waikato and is for educational use only.

Where are they?
There are several options for locating databases.

How do I know which one to use?
Under the title of each database in the list of legal databases you'll see a brief outline of the type of content in that database , the period covered, and whether the database provides full-text access.. This is the scope statement. You need to consider criteria such as the jurisdiction covered, the type of content, and whether the content in the database is current.

For example, the scope statement for Westlaw NZ states:

Westlaw NZ
New Zealand legal sources including New Zealand Statutes, case law and journals, legislation and commentary to precedents
and news, as well as tax information.

This video describes how to access the legal databases, who can access them,and how to decide which one to use.

Database access
Duration 4.26

  • Where you can find the databases
  • Access restrictions
  • Choosing the right database


Terms used to describe the process of database searching

These videos explain what is meant by terms such as "search templates", "connectors", etc.

Search templates
Search statements

Duration 3.0

Boolean connectors

Duration 2.58

Advanced search templates
Free text searches

Duration 3.41

Phrases, truncation and wildcards, and field searching

These videos explain how phrase searching, truncation and wildcards, and field searching work.

Using phrases
Duration 2.26

  • How to use phrases in a search statement

Duration 2.42

  • How truncation and wildcards work
  • Where to truncate

Field searching
Duration 6.46

  • Advanced search templates
  • Field searching


Your first set of results may not be exactly what you want. Sometimes there may be too many, and they're too general, or there are none or not enough or even none at all. These tips may help to solve the problem.

Broadening and narrowing

Too many results

No enough / no results

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Page last modified on November 27, 2017, at 01:46 PM