If you do not have a code citation or the name of an act, it is recommended that you use books and articles to find references to statutes related to your topic. For guidance on finding books and articles, consult the USC Law Library guides Starting Points to Begin Your Research and How to Find Law Journal Articles.
If you are unable to find what you are looking for through books and articles, there are additional search tools discussed below.
At the end of the California code sets is a "General Index" that you can use to find code sections by topic. The index in the West set is comprised of a series of softbound volumes, while the Deering index is a single softbound volume. Another index to the California codes is the LARMAC Consolidated Index to the Constitution and Laws of California (found at the USC Law Library in the Ready Reference and California sections, KFC40.L37); a new edition is published every year.
When using the indexes, think creatively because your topic may not be listed under the first term(s) you think of. Usually, when you look up a term in the index, there will be subheadings under the main heading that narrow the topic. Sometimes, there will also be cross-references to direct you to the appropriate terms to look up. If you find your topic in the index, it will tell you which code(s) and section(s) to look up in the main part of the set.
The “State Statutes, and Regulations Search” page on LexisNexis Academic allows you to enter keyword(s) in the search box. If you select "Advanced Options" be sure to click on "Statutory Code" and select California from the list of states.
The Advanced Options search page allows you to combine your search terms in various ways and limit your search or components of your search to particular segments of the statutes (e.g., heading or cite segments). You can connect your terms with “and” (to specify that both terms must appear in each document) or with "or" (to specify that at least one of the terms must appear in each document). You can also truncate terms with an exclamation point (!) to pull up different versions of a particular word (e.g., accommodat! will search for accommodate, accommodating, accommodation, etc.).
The LexisNexis Academic screen shot below shows how you might enter your search terms if you were looking for California statutes about age discrimination in employment. This search will look for code sections in which the phrase age discrimination appears within the same sentence as a word beginning with the root employ or with the word job.
When you obtain your search results, you have the option of sorting your sections by date or by relevance, the latter taking into account how frequently your terms are mentioned.
On the California Legislative Information website's California Law page, if you select "Text Search" you can search an individual code by keyword. You can also search all of the California codes at the same time. You can use the AND and OR connectors to link your terms and phrases.