Lately ZiefBrief has been participating in a group of academic and law firm librarians who are looking for ways to make sure that summer associates and new law school graduates have the real-world legal research skills they'll need.
One of the group's observations is how little training most law students get in the techniques of Boolean searching — the picking of search terms; the effective use of the AND & OR operators; the role of proximity connectors such as w/15 or w/p.
Here at USF all of our first-years have a mandatory Lexis/Westlaw training session that stresses how to build an effective Boolean (Terms and Connectors) search. Our slides, outlines, worksheets, and student handout might be useful to other librarians who want to beef up their Boolean training (or to students who want to sharpen their skills). So, herewith …
- Instructor's Slides (shorter version) (PowerPoint document; 1.4 MB)
- Instructor's Slides (longer version) (PowerPoint document; 2.2 MB)
- Instructor's Outline (PDF; 15 pages) (This is geared to the shorter set of slides)
- Handout for Students (PDF; 4 pages) (we print this on one folded 11 x 17 sheet)
- Blank Search Worksheet - Front (PDF; 1 page)
- Blank Search Worksheet - Back (PDF; 1 page) (We encourage the students to use this worksheet when drafting searches for research until they are confident in their skills)
- Search Worksheet with Training Hypothetical (PDF; 1 page)