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Database Tutorials for Law

Journals & newspapers

The Journals section of Westlaw UK indexes over 800 legal journals, mainly in UK, European and international law from 1986 onwards.  It also has 114 titles available in full text.

From click on Find Databases and type Westlaw UK into the Name box.  Click on Find Database.

Simple search

In the Westlaw UK search screen, click on Journals.  This will give you the journals search screen:


If you are searching for articles on a particular topic, the best options to use are the first two boxes.

  • Free Text will search for whatever terms you put in anywhere in the full text of articles (if the full text is available in Westlaw) or in the titles, subject headings or keywords attached to the articles.
  • Subject/Keyword will only look for your terms in the subject headings or keywords, so the references it finds are likely to be more focused on that topic.

It is a good idea to do your initial searches in Free Text, and then you can see which subject headings and keywords are most relevant to your topic.

  • Example:   Look for the term “dangerous dogs” first in Free Text and then in Subject/Keywords and compare the results.

The Term Defined search will find articles which discuss cases or legislation where the concept has been defined. 

  • Example:  Try a search for “duty of care”.

If you put a tick in the box marked Terms in Context, when the results come up, they will have your terms highlighted showing the context in which they occur.



You can make your search more specific by using ‘connectors’:

You can see the full range of available connectors by clicking on List of Connectors from the search screen.



When the results of your search come up, you will be able to link to the full text of the article if there is one, or to the abstract:

Remember that if the full text article is not available within Westlaw, it is still possible that we may have it available through a different subscription.  Make a note of the journal title and details of the article, and look it up on FindIt@Bham.

If you find too many results, you can always narrow them down using any of the options in the left-hand margin such as Topic, Date or Document Type.

The Journals section of Lexis Library indexes over 500 publications in the legal and business fields, and contains the full text of around 125 legal journal titles.

From click on Find Databases and type Lexis Library into the Name box.  Click on Find Database.

Simple search

In the Lexis search screen, click on Journals.  This will give you the journals search screen:

Type your search terms into the Search Terms box, remembering to use the Boolean connectors to specify what you are looking for.  Click on Search Tips to see all the available connectors.  The most useful ones are:

You can also make your search more specific by clicking on Add Topics to Search and selecting a subject from the hierarchy of terms from the Subject Directory.  Tick the box next to the term(s) you need and click on Add to Search.  This will have the effect of limiting your search to those articles indexed under that topic, as in this example for marine pollution:

HeinOnline has four major library collections: 

  • the Law Journal Library
  • the Federal Register Library
  • the Treaties & Agreements Library
  • the US Supreme Court Library

All of these libraries are image-based and fully-searchable, meaning that they provide exact page images and enable the researcher to view all pages as they originally appeared in hardcopy - including all charts, graphs and photographs.

The publishers of HeinOnline have a comprehensive set of online guides to this resource available here.

Quick Full Text Search

  • Click on the Find Databases link towards the top-right of FindIt@bham ( In the box that appears type in HeinOnline and click Find Database. Click on the link that appears. 
  • Under the heading Browse Databases by Name click on Law Journal Library 
    • The Law Journal Library contains more than 2,500 law and law-related periodicals. Subjects covered include criminal justice, political science, technology, human rights, and more. Coverage for all journals is from inception and goes through the most currently published issues allowed based on contracts with publishers. About 90% of journals are available through the current issue or volume. Search by article title, author, subject, state or country published, full text, and narrow by date. 
  • In the search box type Police AND entrap* then click on  to return your results
    • How many results are there?

  • When the list of results appears click on All Matching Text Pages for the entry you are interested in. 

  • This opens the pages of the document where your search terms are shown in bold.  To see the full page click on the relevant hyperlink e.g. Turn to page 378 ‚Äč

Advanced Full Text Search

  • Under the search box at the top of the page click on Advanced Search

  • In the search box next to the pull-down menu marked Text type "police entrapment" ~150
  • Go to the box marked Topics and type criminal law and procedure
  • Click on the Search button at the bottom of the page
    • How many results does this return compared to the Quick Full Text Search?

ProQuest Social Sciences is a collection of databases which index publications in a wide range of social sciences including sociology, social work, education, criminology, linguistics, psychology, political science, religion, as well as a number of more general academic journal collections.  It is therefore useful as a single point at which to do your search if your topic extends beyond matters of law.

Click on the Database Search tab on the top menu bar of FindIt@bham ( and type in ProQuest Social Sciences in the Title search box to find the link.  This will take you to a page which has a simple search box and a list of the databases contained in the collection.

Go to the Advanced Search as this gives you a convenient set of search boxes as well as a number of useful filters and limiters for your search:


Particularly useful are the two filters shown above:  The tick-box for Peer Reviewed which will limit your search to articles in refereed academic journals, and the Publication Date menu where you can select the most recent date range for your publications.

Business Source Premier is a large electronic journal service covering the topics of business and management. It provides full text for more than 2,150 journal titles. Coverage extends to all aspects of business including accounting and finance , management and marketing. Many of the titles indexed by Business Source Premier might not be found as easily by using the 'Article Search' functionality of FindIt@bham.

Click on the Find Databases link towards the top-right of FindIt@bham ( In the box that appears type in Business Source Premier and click 'Find Database' A link to this database will appear below . Click on the link to access the database.

You will be taken directly through to the 'Advanced Search' screen. At the top left hand side of the screen are search boxes for you to enter the terms or phrase for the subject you are interested in. 


  • You wish to search for articles about management so in the search box type in manage* Select AB (Abstract or Author -Supplied Abstract) from the drop-down menu. Click Search :
    • How many articles are found?
    • When was the most recent article added ?
  • You now wish to search for articles on recession, so in the search box type recess* OR auster* Select AB (Abstract or Author-Supplied Abstract) from the drop-down menu. Click search:
    • How many articles are found ?
  • You now wish to combine the two results. So select the box next to results S1: AB manage* and S2: AB recess* OR auster* and then click 'Search with AND' - note this is the same as searching for manag* AND (recess* OR auster*)
  • You can restrict the date range over which your search looks. On the left-hand side you will see the heading 'Refine Search' and a date range which goes from 1947-2018. Click on the grey rectangle above '1947' and drag it to the right until '1947' changes to '2000'. Click 'Update Results'. This will give you results which were published between 2000 and 2018.
    • How many articles are now found?

To recap, we have selected articles which contain in their abstract at least one of the following words: manage, management, managed, managing, manages AND MUST ALSO contain one of the following words: recession, recessive, austere and austerity. The articles must have been published between 2000 and 2018 and they must be an academic journal article. 

  • In the centre of the screen, a list of articles will be displayed which contain your search terms.
  • Results can be sorted by a number of criteria including date and relevance. By default they are sorted by relevance.
  • To preview the summary of an article hover over the icon: 

  • Click on the article: Cohen, S., Guillamón, M., Lapsley, I. and Robbins, G. (2015) Accounting for austerity: the Troika in the Eurozone. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 28(6), 966-992. doi:10.1108/AAAJ-04-2014-1668. For information: you can Print, Email, Save and Export the contents of this page by clicking on the,   and  icons on the right of the page. For now though, continue onto the next bullet point.
  • To view the full-text of this article click the  button. You will then see a screen telling you there are two ways to access this article. Either route (ProQuest ABI/INFORM Collection or Emerald eJournals Premier) will take you through to the full text. Choose a route by clicking on either   button and then click on the PDF link on the page you arrive on. Once you have the full-text on the screen answer the following:
    • On what page do the cited references start?                                                      


Note: In some cases you will see a PDF or HTML link. In which case click that to access the full-text. If you cannot see such a link click on  to see if there is electronic access via any of our other eJournal subscriptions. 

Further HelpThere is a comprehensive guide to finding business information and using the business databases at

Newspapers and other media archives can be useful sources of information on historical events and on how legal matters are viewed by the general public.

We subscribe to a number of such archives.  The most useful are:

Nexis Advance UK:  This is a database from the same publishers as Lexis Library, and one of its features is an extensive searchable full-text archive of national and local newspapers from the UK and a number of other countries around the world.  Help topics for using this database can be found here.

We have a number of online archive of individual newspapers such as the Daily Mail, Financial Times, Guardian and The Times, as well as collective archives of East European newspapers (Eastview) and African American Newspapers.

Please see our full guide to tracing newspaper articles at

Box of Broadcasts

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) is an off-air recording and media archive service which records TV and radio programmes from the main UK and selected overseas channels.

After a TV or radio programme is recorded, it is stored in an archive indefinitely.  The archive currently offers over 45,000 TV and radio programmes covering all genres, and that number is set to rise as more further and higher education institutions join BoB.  You can make playlists and save clips from programmes in a personal My BoB account and use them in presentations.  All contents are copyright-cleared.

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