Academic Help: Getting Started
If this is your first time using LexisNexis Academic, this article should help you quickly learn the basics. Click on the highlighted articles that will take you to other articles in the wiki if you need more information.
The URL for Academic is http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/lnacademic. If you're on campus, your IP will be automatically authenticated. If you're off-campus, you may need to travel through your library's portal page. We're probably found in the "Databases" section. If you need help getting access, ask a librarian!
Main Search Box for Most Searches
The first thing you see when you get to LexisNexis Academic will probably be the main Academic Search box. You may not need to travel any further to any other search form, but that will depend on your research goals. The main page was designed to handle 80% of research needs.
If you find yourself in the 20% who needs a more defined search, we will get to that later in the article.
The search box on the main page of Academic searches four major group files at once, which gives users a broad mix of content in their results lists. The Main Page's Academic Search Box is a combined search of the following content sets:
- Newspapers (a group file of all newspapers, US and international, in LexisNexis Academic)
- Law Reviews (a group file of all Law Review titles)
- Company Profiles (a group file of all sources that provide Company Profiles)
- Federal and State Cases (a group file of all Federal and State Cases content)
Simply type in a term and your results list will bring back news, cases, law reviews, and company information relevant to your search. However, as previously mentioned, you might want some more precise.
Advanced Options for Precise Searching
If you would like to narrow your search, the Advanced Options form will help you add restrictions for a more precise results list. Click on "Advanced Options" below the search box to expand the section.
The Advanced Options Section will allow you to:
- Add index terms to narrow a large search into a smaller set of results.
For example, searching "Obama" and "Oil Spill" will bring back thousands of results. Using a controlled vocabulary and searching for major terms only will bring you back extremely relevant results.
- Search for a specific source.
Use the type-ahead word wheel to add a specific source to your search like The Washington Post or The New York Times
- You need to use a complex segment search string.
To find stories about therapy animals you might search on: (dog OR cat OR pet) w/s patient
- You need to narrow your search by date.
If you want results only from a specific date or a specific set of dates.
Specialized Forms for Content-Specific Searching
Although any source can be searched using the Advanced Options on the main page, other specialized search forms on LexisNexis Academic may serve you better. To navigate to another search form, click on the Search By Content Type Menu.
- Each Advanced Options section on these search forms has been customized to fit the content type. You will always find specialized group files of sources on these forms. Legal search forms make it possible to search by specific jurisdiction. News search forms make it possible to search specific content types like all transcripts, all U.S. newspapers, etc. Business search forms will allow you to select the most popular business sources to search through.
- You will usually find content-specific search options on these forms. For example, on the All News form, you will see that you can select an option that will only search editorials and opinions. The specialized search forms highlight options that you may not know exist on the main Advanced Options section.
If you need to find a specific source, simply click Advanced Options on the main page and use the type-ahead word wheel. However, if your publication does not appear on the list, or you would like to browse through a list of sources, then use the Academic Source Directory by clicking the Browse or Find links at the top of Academic.
If you would like to know more about the source, like when it updates or how current the source is, click the "i" icon next to the source name, as in the image below:
Take advantage of the "How To..." series of task-based user guides. If you need quick instructions, these are the best guides to use. Also see the list of Curriculum-Based Research Guides for course-specific help.
If you're a visual learner, check out our YouTube Channel.