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1. Search

1a. Choose what you would like to search for

This section of the screen allows you to enter the information we will use to search for the questions you would like to view.

Search Text

In this field you can either enter the question number, if you know it, or some text which will help you to find what you are looking for. This may be text which you think will appear in either the question or the answer.

Some hints;

  • We will ignore any punctuation - it will be replaced with a space when searching.
  • If you are searching for a hyphenated name (for example Coutts-Jarman) you are more likely to find what you are looking for if you omit the hyphen (i.e. enter Coutts Jarman)
  • Except in an 'exact phrase' search (see below) we will ignore common short words such as 'the' and 'and', as they appear too often and will cause too many results to be returned.
  • Try to use words which will return the information you are looking for, while not returning too many others. For example if you are interested in Victims under 18 attending court then do not search for 'victim', which will bring back every mention of victims. Try searching for All Words and enter 'victim 18 court' which will bring back a much smaller list of questions.
1b. How should we search for your text?

This section of the screen allows you to specify how we use the information you have provided to carry out the search.

If you select 'The exact phrase appears in the document' we will search for exactly the words you have entered in exactly the same order. For example if you search for 'do I need a solicitor' we will display only questions or answers which include exactly that phrase. This option should only be used if you are sure of the exact phrase.

If you select 'All of the words appear in the document' we will ignore any common short words such as 'and' and 'the', as they appear in too many documents. We will display any questions and answers which contain all of the other words you have entered. For example if you search for 'do I need a solicitor' we will display any questions which include the word 'do' and the word 'need' and the word 'solicitor' but they may not be related to each other at all. For example it would display any question or answer which includes that exact phrase, but would also display a question or answer which contains the sentence: 'Solicitors do need to wear their wigs when appearing in court'. You should try to select your words to match your specific search requirements as closely as possible. This option should be used whenever you do not know the exact phrase you are looking for.

If you select 'Any one or more of the words appear in the document' we will ignore any common short words such as 'and' and 'the', as they appear in too many documents, and we will display any question or answer which contains ANY of the other words you have entered. For example if you search for 'do I need a solicitor' we will display all questions which include the word 'need' and all questions which include the word 'solicitor' etc. As you can imagine that may result in a very long list of questions. This option is best used when you have a relatively unusual word and wish to search for alternatives. For example, if you wanted to find out something about the person who might question you in court you could enter 'solicitor barrister' in the text field and select this option. It would then display any question or answer which contains either of those words.

NOTE - plurals are not automatically included in search results so you may find that if you do not find what you want using the singular version of the word then you may be successful if you search again using the plural.

1c. How many results would you like to display?

This section of the screen allows you to choose how many documents will be displayed.

If you choose a low number the screen will be displayed more quickly but, if there are a lot of questions returned, you may need to page through a number of screens to find the question you want. If you choose a higher number the screen will be displayed slightly more slowly but you will have more questions displayed on one screen from which you can make your selection. The number of times you need to page forwards and backwards between screens will be reduced.

1d. Do you want to search only in the currently selected topic?

This section of the screen allows you to limit where in the system you search for your questions.

Questions in the system are assigned to 'topics'. At the top of the Home page is a drop down list of topics. Clicking onto these shows sub topics and, once a lower level topic is chosen, the questions in that topic are displayed and can be viewed.

In most cases when you use the search screen all topics will be searched and questions will be displayed regardless of which topic they appear in. However, if you have navigated through the topics but have not found what you wanted and then click on advanced search, this selection will appear at the bottom of the search screen.

If you take no action the search will look across all topics as normal. However, if you know that the question you require must be in the topic you have a selected, or in a sub topic underneath that topic then select the 'Search topic name only' option. When the search is carried out the system will look only in that topic and any sub-topics underneath it. This can be a helpful way to reduce the number of results if your original search is too wide.

2. Search Results

The search results are initially displayed in order of relevance.

It is possible to change the order of the display of the search results by selecting from the dropdown list at the top of the results:

  • Alphabetically - will list the questions in alphabetical order of the question text.
  • By Topic - will split the questions into the different topics under which they are listed in the system.

As well as the question text, the first 30 words of the answer are displayed, to help you to determine whether a particular question is the one you are looking for.

It is possible to move through the search results by using the Next and Previous buttons. If you wish to return to the first page of results you can either use the Previous button to move back through the screens or click the advanced search link again, which will redisplay the search results from the start.

3. Other Searches

3a. Quick Search

The quick search at the top of every screen searches on an 'All of the words' basis (see above).

Simply enter the text you wish to search for, or the question number (with or without the 'Q') if you know it, in the field and click 'Search'. The search will be carried out. If only one question is found, for example if the reference is entered, then the question and answer will be displayed. Otherwise the search results screen will be displayed in the same way as when the advanced search is used.

3b. Topics

It is also possible to browse through the topics of questions to locate what you are looking for.

To browse through the topics select the Browse Topics link which appears on every page. This will display a list of the high level topics. Click on the topic that interests you.

A new page will be displayed which will list more topics. Choose the most appropriate topic for the question you are seeking. There may be sub-topics under this level. In each case simply click on the option which seems most appropriate.

A page will be displayed listing the questions in that topic. If you can see the question which you are seeking click on it to view it. Otherwise you can use the back button to return to previously displayed topics or can carry out a new search.