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Search Tips

The following search tips can help you find the right document when using the Special Education Law Search Engine.

Advanced Search

Click the “Advanced Search” option under the search bar to limit searches to a specific database. For example, uncheck all of the boxes except for “Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) Decisions” in order to search only BSEA decisions.

Search by Date

The Special Education Law Search Engine organizes search results by relevance, using a 1,000 point score based on 15 unique features (including date, specific special education terms, the number of times a word appears, and location of search terms). If you would prefer to organize results by date, click “Order Results by Date”, which appears under the “Advanced Search” options.

Live Search

As you start to type in the search box, a drop down will appear to guide your search. This “live search” will give suggestions of popular documents, and try to guess what terms you are typing. However, this might not provide full search results.

Please press return, or click the search button to perform a full search of the database.

Boolean Search Terms

Boolean NOT

To get results without a particular word, use the minus operator.

For example:

To search for private but not residential search:

private -residential

Boolean AND

By default, the search engine will first look for all the words you enter in a document. If it cannot find the words together, it will switch to an OR search, searching for each word individually. To force the engine to only search for words together use the plus operator.

For example:

To search for ‘private’ and ‘residential’ together in one document, search:

private +residential

Boolean EXACT

To search for exact phrases, use quotation marks.

For example:

“private residential”

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