How do I create a terms & connectors search?

To create a search request in Lexis®Library, start with terms and phrases that reflect ideas essential to your research. Then include connectors (such as AND and OR) to link the terms and phrases, and other special characters to search for word variations. You can also use options such as date restrictions and document section searching to create a more specific search.

If you're new to creating searches, use these steps to get started:

  1. Choose your search terms.
    • Choose search terms that are specific or closely related to the topic of interest.

      medical negligence OR clinical negligence

    • Choose terms you might use when discussing the topic with a colleague, including current jargon.

      Financial Services Authority OR FSA

    • Use terms that reflect ideas essential to your research topic.
    • Include alternative terms and abbreviations.

      vat OR value added tax

    • Avoid terms that are too general, such as "illness" or "behaviour".

    Lexis®Library interprets your search terms differently depending on how you enter them. At its most basic level, a term is a single character or group of characters, alphabetic or numeric, with a space on either side.

    McPhersonone searchable term
    s37one searchable term
    s 37two searchable terms

    A hyphen is treated as a space, so a hyphenated term is seen as two terms.

    charterpartyone term
    charter-partytwo terms
    charter partytwo terms

    A full stop is treated like a space except when:

    • The full stop is preceded and followed by a number.

      99.9 is one term

    • The full stop is preceded by a space and followed by a number.

      .99 is one term

    • The full stop is preceded by only one alphabetic character and followed (with no spaces in the sequence) by any number of single letters each of which is followed by a full stop.

      B.B.C. is one term, while B. B. C. is three terms (because of the spaces after the full stops)

    Tip: Search terms are not case-sensitive, so words may be entered in upper or lower case.
  2. Use truncation and wildcards to include word variations.

    The truncation (!) and wildcard (*) characters let you easily include all variations of search terms, making your search simpler.

    The ! character finds a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it.

    pollut! finds "pollution", "pollute" or "polluted", environment! finds "environment" or "environmental"

    Tip: Words that work best with ! are those that are unique in their truncated form. For example, if you search for ski! (thinking that you wish to find "ski" or "skiing"), your results will also include "skill", "skip", "skittle" and so on.

    The * character replaces one space for a character at any point in a word. For example:

    p**rson finds the "ie" or "ea" for the spelling of the name, Pearson or Pierson

  3. Link the search terms using connectors.

    Connectors such as AND, OR, W/n and so on define relationships between your search terms. For example:

    factory OR plant W/15 pollut! OR environment!

    finds documents where either "factory" or "plant" is within 15 words of "pollution, pollute or polluted" or "environment or environmental".

    To see the list of all connectors and information about how to use them, click on the Search tips link.

  4. Specify date restrictions.

    Use date restrictions to narrow your search to documents published/heard on a specific day or within a date range you specify.

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