Advanced Natural Language Search Options

When you perform a natural language search, you may consider using the advanced features below to enhance and refine your search. All of these options are available when you choose the Natural Language option on search forms.

OptionDescription
Searching for PhrasesThe natural language feature automatically checks your search for legal, technical, medical, and other common phrases. You can also easily create your own phrases when you enter your search by enclosing the words you want considered as a phrase in quotes. If you want to ensure that adjacent words are not evaluated as a phrase, separate them with a comma.
Specifying Required Terms

When you search using terms and connectors, each search term must appear in every document. With the natural language feature, relevant documents may not contain all of your search terms. To require that a search term or phrase in your natural language search appear in every retrieved document, you must enter it in the Please enter the required search terms field.

Required terms are useful for searching on specific items (names, phrases, code sections, or regulations), rather than broad topics. But be careful how you use them:

Required terms are useful for searching on specific items (names, phrases, code sections, or regulations), rather than broad topics. But be careful how you use them:

  • Be sure the term must appear in a document; otherwise you may miss relevant documents. For example, if you make "George Bush" mandatory, instead of just "Bush", you might miss references to "President Bush".
  • Since a required term is required to appear in a document, it limits your search. So, the more terms you make mandatory, the fewer documents your search retrieves.
  • The more terms you make mandatory, the lower the importance of each term. So, if you use several required terms, your results may be less relevant than if you only used one.
Searching for Synonyms

Place synonyms immediately after the search term to which they apply. Enclose them in brackets and separate multiple synonyms with a comma:

Under what circumstances can biological (natural) parents regain custody of an adopted child (minor, infant)?

Synonym Tips
  • Synonyms can add value to your results, but use them carefully. Using many synonyms reduces the importance of each, and your results may not be as on-target as you'd like.
  • If you use synonyms for a required term, the LexisNexis research services retrieve documents containing either the required term or at least one of its synonyms (similar to using the OR connector).
Searching for Additional Terms or ConceptsYou can add synonyms, word variations, and other terms or phrases to your search by adding them to the Search terms box.

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