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Search help

Full text searching
Quick tips for effective searching
Word variations
Boolean searching
Browse searching
Advanced search
Saving/printing your results
Locating previous searches

Full text searching

Type in one or more search words into the search box and hit the Search key or Enter.

Help | Advanced Search

Just search will search for every word you have entered and return results which contain all of the words you have entered – like a Google search. The search will be of the full text of Foundation reports, and the abstracts for associated material (see Scope of Just search). For Foundation reports it will only return results where the search terms all occur in a particular section of the report.

Just search will tell you exactly what it searched for, e.g.:

    Search results >> self AND representing AND litigants

The results will appear with each search term in bold.

Because the search is on the exact words:

  • Plurals are not automatically included, i.e. court and courts should be searched separately
  • Punctualtion such as an apostrophe or a hyphen will affect the results, e.g. women's or self-representing. If in doubt, try both versions.

The search is not case-sensitive, i.e. capitalisation will not affect the results.

All commonly used words such as a, an, the, la etc. are included in the search.

Quick tips to help you search more effectively:

  • Check your spelling
  • Check your punctuation
  • Try more general search words, e.g. fines rather than traffic fines
  • Search similar words, e.g. renting as well as tenancy
  • Truncate your term, eg law* will find law and lawyers. In a truncation search, the words found will not be highlighted in the usual way
  • If you are specifying a date, use the year only, eg 2001 not 2001-02
  • Spell out acronyms, eg use Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission rather than HREOC
  • If you selected a disadvantaged group to search on, you may be searching WITHIN that group. If in doubt, press the Just search logo on the left to start a new search
  • Check that you haven’t unintentionally limited your search by not ticking all the collections
  • Phrase searching will narrow down your search, e.g."domestic violence" will bring fewer results than a full text search on domestic violence because the words must be in the same sequence
  • Use Advanced search to help you combine search words, ie AND, OR, NOT (Boolean searching), or to limit searches that return too many results.

Word variations (stemming or truncation)

Truncation gives all extensions on a word stem by using an asterisk sign *

    E.g. law* will return law, laws, lawyers

    work* will return works, worker, workplace

Automatic stemming can be turned on in advanced search. Stemming includes a range of plural forms, e.g. women, and related suffixes but not all extensions of the term

    E.g. a search on work will include workers but not workplace

Stemming does not automatically cover all variations, e.g. Sudan/Sudanese.


Just search provides some suggestions for alternative words for searching

    E.g. if you have searched for fines it will suggest

    See also: traffic offences

    If you have searched for apprehended violence orders, it will suggest

    See also: domestic violence, sexual assault .


The results are ranked by relevance based on the number of times a search term appears and where the search term appears. There is also an option to re-sort your results by date or title.

Boolean searching

You can specify relationships between the search words you use to refine your search. The main ways to do this are to search using:

    AND Find results with all of the search words. AND is the default between search words if you have not created a phrase with inverted commas

    OR Find results with at least one of the words, eg courts OR tribunals

    NOT Find results without the words, eg courts NOT family court

You can combine these operators eg (courts OR tribunals) AND (DV OR domestic).

Do not use symbols such as + or - instead of the Boolean search words.

Browse searching

If you select a disadvantaged group from the browse menu on the left hand side, you search results will be less than if you do a full text search, but they will be more targeted. This is because the browse search only includes results which have been indexed to indicate that the material contains information relevant to that group, rather than simply that a particular word has been mentioned somewhere in the text.

For example, a search on culturally and linguistically diverse will find all the material indexed on this topic regardless of the variations in the way it is referred to, e.g. CALD, NESB, migrants, and will exclude incidental uses of the term in the results.

Your browse results for Foundation research are grouped under each research report, with a key report on that group being listed first. This is to ensure that when you search under a group that is the subject of a research report, e.g., homeless people, that you are not deluged with a listing of every chapter of the report.

Your search terms are not highlighted in the results because you are not searching on text.

To search for two disadvantaged groups together, select one from the list and type the other into the search box.

Remember that if you continue searching in this mode, it will be WITHIN the disadvantaged group you chose. Press the Just search logo to start a new search.

Advanced search

Advanced search provides menus to assist with Boolean searching and search limits. The search will be a blend of full text searching, with limits by controlled terms ie indexing to include synonyms and exclude incidental references. Therefore search limits that you select may not display in the results. For example if you use Area of law to limit the search to child abuse, the search results may not include the term child abuse because it only occurs in the indexing of the document.

Drop down menus can be used to limit searches by:

  • Collection, e.g, Foundation reports;
  • Group, e.g. Women;
  • Area of law, e.g. Domestic violence

You can also turn word stemming off or on from Advanced search.

Saving/printing your results

You can cut and paste your search results into a document for word processing or print them using the Print friendly function.

Locating previous searches

If you want to revert to the results of an earlier search, press the back button on the top menu or use the Previous searches option on the top left hand side of the screen.