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Guide to Westlaw Campus Research

West Key Number System

Learn more about using the West Key Number System, including how to encorporate using Headnotes in your research.

Searching Headnotes

Headnotes are summaries of specific points of law addressed in a particular case.  

All Headnote materials can be searched simultaneously in the top search bar. 

Headnote search

The default searches All Federal material. To search All State materials or both All State & All Federal materials, click on All Federal and select your desired jurisdiction(s). If searching federal materials, you can also search by Court and/or Circuit:


Another option is to search individual state materials (you can select up to 3 states to search at once):

State Jurisdiction

A third option is to search by topic. Narrowing by topic will take you to a list of headnotes, the equivalent of a particular Key Number.  From here, you can conduct a search or narrow by jurisdiction.

Key Number Topics

Searching headnotes in cases

To view other cases from within or across jurisdictions addressing similar issues, use the West Key Number System in the right column that correspond with the headnote of interest by clicking on one of those key number hyperlinks. 

Headnote example

Clicking on headnote number 7, for example, will link to the text that corresponds to that headnote in the opinion:

headnote opinion

Clicking on Cases that cite this headnote  brings you to other cases that cite this case for this point of law .