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Home > Help > Flexible Searching
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Introduction to Using UKOP
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Introduction to Searching
Flexible Searching
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Restricting Your Search
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Introduction to My UKOP
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Where Can I Get Help Using UKOP?

Flexible Searching:


What flexible search options are there?
How do I search for related meanings?
How can I search for variations on a search term?
How do I find variant spellings of a search term?
Can I search on related meanings and variant spellings at the same time?

What flexible search options are there?

Related meanings:
Allows you to broaden or narrow your search enquiry by including meanings that are directly, closely, or generally related to your search word(s) or phrases.
Example:
  • Searching for “asylum seeker” would also return results containing “refugee”;
  • Searching on “MAFF” will find “Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food”.
Variant spellings:
Allows you to include variant spellings of your search terms.
Example:
  • Searching for “Mackeral” will also return results containing “Mackerel”.

How do I search for related meanings?

  • Click on Advanced search in the search bar;
  • On the Advanced Search page, scroll down the page to the section titled "How do you want to search UKOP?";
  • Select the related meaning option you wish to use.
The charts below show what you can find using the three available options. Directly related searching:

Finds Examples Use this if you want to
Exact matches Asylum seeker = asylum seeker Carry out more precise searching
Plurals Asylum seeker = asylum seekers
Variations on words Buy = bought
A word in its simpler form Tallest = tall
Expansions of common official publications acronyms DfES = Department for Education and Skills
British/American spellings Labour = labor

Closely related searching:
Closely related searching is the default for the basic search option.

Finds Examples Use this if you want to
All of the meanings directly related to the search term Asylum seeker = refugees, minorities, immigration Research the subjects you are interested in more thoroughly for closely related terms as well as exact matches.
Closely related synonyms  

Generally related searching:
Enables you to broaden your search to include terms that are generally related to your search terms.

Finds Examples Use this if you want to
All of the meanings directly and closely related to the search term Asylum seeker = refugees, minorities, immigration, home, harbour, protection Use this option if you want to broaden your research to information in the same general area.
General synonyms Hot = cold
Strong opposites (antonyms)  

How can I search for variations on a search term?

You can search UKOP using variations on a word or number by using the following characters, (referred to as “wildcard operators”), to represent one or more characters in a word or number:

Wilcard Description Example
@ Matches one alphabetical character exactly L@st will find last, list, lost, lest
# Matches one numeric character exactly #600 will find 1600, 2600 etc
* Matches any character(s) Polic* will find policies, policing, policy, policyholders
? Matches one character exactly La?er will find later, laser, la3er, etc
[] Matches only one character specified within the brackets; a hyphen can be used to indicate a range of numbers or letters 199[1-6] will find 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
[^] Matches any character except the next character 199[^1-3] will not find 1991, 1992 or 1993, but will find 1994 etc.

To search using wildcard operators:
  • Enter the first few letters of the word into the search box followed by the wildcard operator;
  • Click Go.
If you use a wildcard in one of your search words, UKOP does not include related meanings or variant spellings; it only implements the wildcard operator.

How do I find variant spellings of a search term?

If you are unsure of how to spell a word or name, you can use UKOP to find variant spellings:
  • Click on Advanced search in the search bar;
  • On the Advanced Search page, click the button next to “include variant spellings” in the “How do you want to search UKOP?” section.

Can I search on related meanings and variant spellings at the same time?

You can combine these features in the following way:
  • To look for related meanings of a word when you have selected the variant spellings option on the Advanced Search page, or are doing a Boolean search:
    • Type an ! (exclamation mark) immediately after the word (e.g. monarch!).
  • To look for variant spellings when you have selected the related meanings option on the Advanced Search page, or are doing a Boolean search:
    • Type a ~ (tilde) symbol immediately in front of the word (e.g. ~licence).
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