Academic Help: Getting Started

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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.


Navigating to LexisNexis Academic

The URL for Academic is 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

Academic Main Page

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

LexisNexis Academic Power Search form

There may be reasons that you need more options than what are offered on the Easy Search form. Here is a small list of reasons that you may need to use the Power Search form instead of the Easy Search form:

  • You need 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.

If you want to search The Washington Post and The New York Times together.

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.

Any source in LexisNexis Academic can be searched on the Power Search form.

Check out our help text for the Power Search article if you want more information.

Specialized Forms for Content-Specific Searching

The All News form

Although any source can be searched on the Power Search form, other specialized search forms on LexisNexis Academic may serve you better.

  • 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 PowerSearch form.
  • These specialized forms provide a guided search. You can enter a term in the box, and then select an area to be searched from the drop-down box. The specialized search forms are more intiutive and usually point you directly to the content you want.


If you need to find a specific source, click on the "Sources" section. Then, the Find Sources form. Type the source name into the Keyword box. When you get the list of results, you should see your source in the list. Click the box next to the source name to select the source.

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:


For more information, check out our article on the Academic Source Directory.

Further Information

Take advantage of the Academic Binder Series of task-based user guides. If you need quick instructions, these are the best guides to use. Also see the list of Academic Help articles.

If you're a visual learner, check out our YouTube Channel.