Fastcase Research Tip: Use proximity operators for more precise results

While in Keyword (Boolean) search, you can use multiple proximity (“within”) operators to fine-tune your search.

Here’s an example:

If I’m looking for cases in all jurisdictions involving the constitutionality of a search of curtilage and would like the cases to mention the word warrant or a form of warrant, I could run a search like this:

constitution* AND curtilage AND search* AND warrant*

However, that search returns 1,000+ results and the terms could be anywhere within the opinion.

If I want cases that discuss these keywords close together, I can narrow down my search by using the proximity operator. When I do this, the terms will be within several words of each other. To use the proximity operator, simply put a w/ or just a / and a number between 2 and 50 between the words you want to be close to each other. In this case, I want the terms to be within 25 words of each other. Here’s my new search:

constitution* w/25 search* w/25 curtilage w/25 warrant*

This search, even across all jurisdictions, gives me 299 results, which is a lot easier to review than 1,000!

For more tips on Boolean searches, sign up here for one of our webinars.

#1 Legal Research App

Winner of the prestigious American Association of Law Libraries (New Product) Award, Fastcase for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone is used by more attorneys than any other legal app according to the ABA. Anyone may use the app for free to access Fastcase's comprehensive legal research database on the go.