CQ Press Encyclopedia of American Government

Help: Advanced Search

The Advanced Search form in CQ Encyclopedia of American Government (EAG) offers users the ability to search for a word or phrase anywhere it appears on the site. Alternatively, users may click the Search Titles Only radio button to narrow their search to instances of the word or phrase in document titles. Boolean operators—for example, “and,” “or,” “not”—are permitted. See hints, below, on selecting search terms and using Boolean operators.

Users may also filter their search by document type, by topic, or by event date to better zero in on the information they desire. These options may be combined in any manner. For example, you might search for the phrase “quorum call” anywhere it appears in an encyclopedia document that carries a primary topic of “Congress.” Each filtering option is described in more detail below.

Search Specific Document Types

Each document in EAG is placed in one of nine categories: Bibliography, Biography, Q & A, Encyclopedia Entry, Facts & Figures, Glossary, Image, Primary Source, and Web Links. Click the Search Specific Document Types radio button and then check the boxes to limit your search to documents in one or more of these categories. See the help file on document types for a description of each type.

Search Specific Topics

CQ Press editors have assigned categories to all documents and images in EAG. To limit your search to documents dealing with a specific topic (Presidency, Supreme Court, Congress, Elections, Constitution), click the Search Specific Topics radio button and select the topic area(s) you wish to search.

Search Event Date

The Event Date is the date of a specific event or year-range described in a document or image file.

The Event Date is a powerful tool for focusing your search, especially if used in conjunction with the other search filters.

Sorting Your Search Results

On the Advanced Search form, you may elect to sort your results by relevancy or by title, using the “Sort Results By” drop-down menu. Once on the Search Results page, you may elect to view your results by relevancy, alphabetically by title, by document type, or by event date. By default, your results are sorted according to relevancy.

Displaying Search Results

You may also determine how many search results you want to view per Web page. The default is thirty results per page, but you can choose as few as five results per page or as many as thirty.


Use specific words instead of general ones. For example, a search for school desegregation will return fewer and more targeted results than a search for desegregation.

Use the words and, or, and not as search operators. For example, to search for documents containing the word “confirmation” and the word “hearings,” type confirmation and hearings in the keyword input box. To search for documents containing either the word “confirmation” or the word “hearings,” type confirmation or hearings in the keyword input box.

Use not to narrow your search. If you type ethics not committee in the keyword input box, your search will return only those documents that include the word “ethics” and exclude the word “committee.”

Use quotation marks around a phrase to search for an exact match of those words in sequence. For example, to find the phrase “original jurisdiction,” type “original jurisdiction” in the keyword input box, including the quotation marks. Without the quotation marks, your search will return documents containing the word “original” and the word “jurisdiction,” even if the words are not used together.

Use a wildcard (*). By typing an * (the asterisk symbol) at the beginning or end of a word, you can search for items with multiple prefixes or endings. For example, typing *trust* in the keyword input box will return documents that include the words “trust,” “antitrust,” “trusts,” “antitrust,” and “trustee.”



How to Use



Finds one term and a second term

Separate the words with a space, or separate with "and"

original jurisdiction; original and jurisdiction

" "

Finds terms in an exact sequence

Use quotation marks around the sequence

"original jurisdiction"


Finds one term or another term

Separate terms with "or"

House or Senate


Finds one term but not another

Separate terms with "not"

House not Senate


Finds any terms containing a specific sequence of letters

Type the letters, using the asterisk symbol (*) as a wildcard



Finds variations of a term

Replace letters with the ? symbol

wom?n returns woman, women


Finds terms that are within a certain number of words of each other

Place terms in quotations, followed by a "w" and a slash mark (/) and the number of words which can occur between the search terms

senate w/4 hearings returns Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings