LexisNexis Statistical: Advanced Boolean Search Strategies
LexisNexis™ Statistical allows you to enter search statements that can take advantage of a powerful search and retrieval engine. If you have experience searching online databases, you may recognize some of these connectors that can be used.
W/S - This finds documents in which specified words or phrases appear within the same sentence
W/P - This finds documents in which specified words or phrases appear within the same paragraph
W/N - This finds words or phrases in the same document in any order; the maximum word count between the two words/phrases is specified by N, which can be any number up to 255.
PRE/N - This finds both words or phrases in the same document. The first word/phrase must be in front of the second word/phrase. The maximum word count between the two words/phrases is specified by N, which can be any number up to 255.
NOT W/S - Both words or phrases may appear in the same document. However, they cannot be in the same sentence.
NOT W/P - Both words or phrases may appear in the same document. However, they cannot be in the same paragraph.
NOT W/N - The first word or phrase is required to appear in the document and the second word or phrase may also be there. However, if the second word/phrase is there, it cannot be within N words of the first word/phrase. N represents any number up to 255.
AND NOT - This is used to exclude words or phrases from the answer set: Example: IRA AND NOT Irish. Use this connector as only the last one in a search. It has a negative impact on everything that follows it, and consequently, changes the impact of other connectors.
ATLEASTn - Use this command to specify the minimum number of times a search term should appear in a document. This will help you find more in-depth articles on a topic. The n represents a number between 1 and 255. Example: ATLEAST5 (budget). You can use more than one ATLEAST command in a search. Example: ATLEAST5 (budget) and ATLEAST5 (defense).
Universal or Wildcard Characters
Often there are variations of your search terms that you would like to retrieve. For example, searching the word CHILD will not find the word CHILDREN, although this term might be relevant to your search.
To make your search more effective, you can search for word variations using the asterisk (*) as a wildcard symbol. An asterisk (*) replaces one letter, can be used more than once in a word, and can be used anywhere EXCEPT as the first letter of a word. For example, searching on the term wom*n will locate records containing both woman and women.
Use an exclamation mark (!) as a truncation to replace more than one letter at the end of a search term. You can only use this symbol once in any word. For example, searching on the term immigra! will locate records containing the terms immigrant and immigration.
Using Parentheses To Alter Connector Order
Connectors have an order of priority. They operate in the following order:
- NOT W/N
- NOT W/S
- NOT W/P
- AND NOT
Sometimes the hierarchy of the connectors impacts your search in a negative way and totally changes your search from what you intended. In these instances, use parentheses to rectify the situation:
Example: If you enter the search statement:
- drug w/5 abuse! OR drug w/5 addict! AND student OR youth OR teenager
LexisNexis™ Statistical will look first for abuse OR drug because the OR connector is processed first. This was not the intention of the search. You should enter the search statement like this:
- (drug w/5 abuse!) OR (drug w/5 addict!) AND (student OR youth OR teenager)
The use of parentheses forces the phrases to stay together as one search entity.