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Legal Research Process

Considerations

How will the algorithm handle search terms you enter? Will it correct for spelling? Will it supply variations? Will it also search for synonyms? Does it broaden too much or too little?

Search terms require conscious design because:

  • politicized: resources may intentionally use or avoid certain phrases for political reasons
    • ex: illegal immigrant, undocumented immigrant
    • ex: abortion, pro-choice, pro-life, anti-choice, anti-abortion
    • ex: fracking
  • too old: most common with primary sources that haven't been updated because political process to do so is so difficult/logistically a low priority
    • ex: excising moron from USC
    • ex: excising negro from military code
  • too new: object at hand is too new to have settled terminology
    • self-driving cars, autonomous vehicles