Using Natural Language
When you search using the natural language feature
(formerly called the FREESTYLE feature), you can enter a search in
plain English, without having to use any special terms and connectors. The
natural language feature's document relevance ranking gives you quick access
to the most pertinent documents in your search results. A typical search
with natural language might be:
Under what circumstances can biological parents regain custody of adopted
children after an adoption?
Note: Wildcard characters such as ! or * are not valid in natural
The natural language feature works best when you
Developing a Natural
- Need to research general or conceptual issues, rather
than very specific topics
- Don't know much about an issue except for a few
- Are researching a complex issue and can't construct
an effective search using terms and connectors
- Don't feel comfortable writing search requests using
terms and connectors
- Want to supplement a terms and connectors search
to ensure thorough results
To develop a natural language search, use terms that you might use when
describing your research topic to another person. Then use the natural language
options (listed below) to enhance the search.
To find articles about efforts in the fast food industry to use recyclable
packaging, you might use this search:
What efforts has the fast food industry made to use recyclable packages?
Or, you can use just the most important terms and phrases, in any order.
recycle package fast food
To find all the articles within an issue of a specific publication, simply
enter the volume and issue number separated by a dash as shown below:
To view all articles within Volume 7, Issue
# 8 in Mealey''s Litigation Report: Insurance, select the publication from
the drop down menu and type 7-8 in the article search box.
Natural Language Options
The natural language feature offers the following ways for you to enhance
and refine your search. All are available from the Natural Language search
The 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.
Place synonyms immediately after the search term they apply to. Enclose
them in parentheses and separate multiple synonyms with a comma:
Under what circumstances can biological (natural) parents regain custody
of an adopted child (minor, infant)?
- 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 mandatory term, the
LexisNexis™ research services retrieve documents containing either
the mandatory term or at least one of its synonyms (similar to using
the OR connector).
You can restrict your natural language search to specific documents,
such as those issued on a certain date, or from a certain court.
You can add synonyms, word variations, and other terms or phrases to
your search. To select from a list of words or concepts related to your
search terms, click "Suggest Words and Concepts for Entered Terms" on
the Natural Language search form.