If you sometimes use Boolean search queries for your research, check out these tips for effectively using terms and connectors on Lexis Advance:
You probably know that you can use either Boolean or Natural Language search queries on Lexis Advance. Simply type your query into the red search box and Lexis Advance will execute a Boolean search if the query includes a recognized connector and a Natural Language search if the query does not include a recognized connector.
To ensure you retrieve the expected search results, here are some important things to know when using Boolean queries on Lexis Advance:
1) Use lower case connectors. When entering connectors, do not use capital letters (e.g., AND, OR, NOT, And, Or). If even one character in the connector words is capitalized, Lexis Advance will interpret it as a search term, not a connector – so your results will be different than what you expect.
· dog and cat: this will be executed as a Boolean search – documents retrieved will include both terms.
· dog AND cat: this will be executed as a Natural Language search – documents retrieved may include dog or and or cat
· dog And cat: this will be executed as a Natural Language search – documents retrieved may include dog or and or cat
2) Do not use the ampersand (&) in your search queries. Lexis Advance does not recognize the ampersand as a replacement for the “and” connector.
· dog & cat: this will be executed as a Natural Language search – documents retrieved may include dog or cat
3) Connectors within common legal phrases will not be treated as connectors. Lexis Advance interprets common legal phrases (e.g., limited liability company, medical malpractice, collateral estoppel) as phrases, rather than individual search terms. If a common legal phrase includes a connector – e.g., search and seizure, act or omission – Lexis Advance will interpret the and or or as part of the legal phrase, not as a connector. This results in fewer, and typically more meaningful, search results.
4) Understand how Lexis Advance interprets the “within a sentence” and “within a paragraph” connectors. Lexis Advance interprets the w/s and w/p connectors a little more narrowly than you may expect. The w/s connector is interpreted as within 15 words. The w/p connector is interpreted as within 50 words. If you want a broader search, consider using the w/n connector instead, where n is a number of your own choosing.
5) Special Characters can be used on Lexis Advance. The asterisk (*) or the question mark (?) can be used as a wildcard to represent one or more characters within a search term. The asterisk can also be used as a root expander if it appears at the end of a search term, as can the exclamation point (!).
· int**net: this will retrieve internet or intranet. (You may also use a question mark for this purpose – i.e., int??net)
· bank*: this will retrieve bank, banks, banking, banked, etc. (You may also use an exclamation point for this purpose – i.e., bank!)
6) It’s easy to re-run your Boolean search as a Natural Language search (and vice-versa). Because searching is free on Lexis Advance, many researchers choose to run their queries both ways to see which approach yields more useful results. That’s easy to do using the Options menu at the top of your search results. If you’ve run a Boolean search, this menu will include the option of running it again as a natural language search. If you’ve run a Natural Language search, the menu will include the option of running it again as a terms & connectors search.
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