ProQuest® Congressional Help - How do I create a search that combines several concepts?
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How do I create a search that combines several concepts?

To create a search request in ProQuest® Congressional, start with terms and phrases that reflect ideas essential to your research. Then include connectors (such as AND and OR) to link the terms and phrases, and other special characters to search for word variations. The Basic and Advanced Search forms provide AND, OR, and AND NOT options in the drop-down lists to help you work with connectors, but you can also add your own connectors within the boxes themselves.

If you're new to creating searches, use these steps to get started:

  1. Identify the topic that you want to research. For example, information about the ability of Bell telephone companies to compete in long-distance markets.
  2. Choose and enter your search terms. Select terms that are specific or closely related to the topic of interest, and use multiple terms to narrow your search.

    For example, to find information on the ability of Bell operating companies to compete in long-distance markets, you might use these terms and phrases:

    Bell, telephone, long-distance, competition

    The Index Terms Look-up Tool link located on the LN Congressional Basic and Advanced Search forms can be used to help with term selection by allowing the user to search or browse the CIS Index controlled vocabulary terms used to index congressional publications. To access the tool, click the Index Terms link located right below the boxes on the Basic and Advanced Search forms. The tool accessed from the Basic form provides users with suggestions from subject, geographic, and issuing sources lists.

    The subject term suggestions can be accessed in three ways. The hierarchical browse allows users to drill down within nine broad categories of terms until they find the term or terms best suited to their search. For example, by drilling down in the "Communication and Transportation" category, the user can find the terms "telecommunication" and "telephone and telephone industry". Alternatively, users can browse the terms in the alphabetical listing or search the subject list by keyword. A search on "telecommunication" returns results that include "telecommunication regulation" and "computer and telecommunication security".

    The Issuing Source list includes names of congressional committees and other entities cited as issuers of publications covered by ProQuest Congressional. By accessing the Index Terms Look-up Tool from the Advanced Search form, users will also be able to access the Serial Set Map Terms index, so long as they are accessing ProQuest Congressional through an institution that has access to the U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection.

    ProQuest Congressional searches for documents containing the specific terms and combinations of terms in your search request. Every term (or form of the term) in your search request must appear in the document for that document to be included in your search results unless the terms are separated by OR or AND NOT.


    • The search does not distinguish between plural and singular forms of a word. For example, a search on Treaties will return content containing either Treaties or Treaty.
    • Search terms are not case-sensitive, so words may be entered in upper or lower case.

    Separate search terms with an AND connector or enter them in separate boxes on the Basic or Advanced Search forms.


    In the default position, the boxes on the Basic and Advanced Search forms are already separated by the AND connector.

    If you enter the terms Bell and telephone as Bell telephone within a single box, your search will only return results where the two words appear together, which could exclude results indexed to Bell operating companies.

  3. Use truncation and wildcards to include word variations. The truncation (?) and wildcard (*) characters let you easily combine or eliminate search terms, making your search simpler.

    The question mark (?) replaces the last character of a word. For example: 

    watche? finds "watches", "watched", or "watcher"

    The asterisk (*) replaces more than one character at the end of a word. For example:

    wat* finds "water," "waters," "watch," watches," "watched," or "Watts" 
  4. Link the search terms using connectors. For example, use the NEAR/n (within a specific number) connector to define relationships between your search terms.
    Bell NEAR/3 company NEAR/10 telephone NEAR/25 broadband or fiber optic

    This search finds documents where either "Bell" is within 3 words of "company" or a variant of company (e.g., Bell operating companies, Bell Telephone Co., Bell system operating companies, Bell system telephone companies), and where either "fiber optic" or "broadband" is within 25 words of "telephone" and "telephone" is within 10 words of "company".


    The NEAR/n connector is especially useful in searching for proper names.
  5. Specify date restrictions. Use date restrictions to narrow your search to documents published on a specific day or within a date range you specify. Or restrict by Congress. Most ProQuest Congressional search forms include a date restriction option, and many also allow you to restrict your search to a date range covering a single Congress.

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