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Preemption Check Checklist

Steps for conducting a preemption check when writing a journal article or substantial research paper.

Step 1: Generating Search Terms

The first step in any research process is generating good search terms. This will help you save time, find more relevant results, explore different perspectives on your topic, and become a more efficient researcher.

To generate good search terms, follow these simple steps:

  1. Write down your topic sentence. 
  2. Pick out the words that represent the main ideas.
  3. Brainstorm different forms and spellings of your "main idea" terms.
  4. Brainstorm synonyms and related terms.


Main idea: groundwater
Alternate forms: ground water
Synonyms: aquifer(s), well(s)
Related terms: water rights, riparian rights, prior appropriation, water resources, water use, water quality, conservation, depletion, overuse, drought, climate change, stockwater, stock water 

This is an ongoing process. As you begin to perform searches and review results, new search terms will occur to you. You may find it helpful to keep a written list that you can add to throughout your search process.

Don't hesitate to ask a law librarian if you would like help generating strong search terms.

Ask a Law Librarian

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D'Angelo Law Librarians
1121 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637