How we present search results

By default, search results are presented in order of relevance: that is, an order decided by the search engine based on comparisons of similarity and frequency of the term appearing within the text contributions.

You can change the sort order by using the links to the top right of the search results: 'Most recent first' sorts the list of results to show the most recently dated contributions first and 'Earliest first' sorts to show the oldest dated contributions first.

The search engine will recognise certain sorts of queries and offer links based on them: for example - Andrew Rosindell will bring up a link to that MP

How you can use the search function on this site

By default our search engine gives results that are somewhat fuzzy: a search for nation will give results that also include the word nationalism or the word nationally. You can make the search more fuzzy by using the ~ sign: for example - sat~ will give results that include the word rat, oats and cat.

All searches are case-insensitive. A search for LONDON returns the same results as a search for london.

If you search for two or more words, the search engine will assume you want all of the words to be present in the results. For example, if you search for NATO Spain the search engine will search for text containing both words, NATO and Spain.

If you want to search for either word, you can use the word OR in the search text box to join the words together: for example NATO OR Spain. This will search for text containing either the word NATO or the word Spain.

You can exclude a term from your search using the - sign: for example: London -Greater will search for text containing the word london which does not contain the word greater.

If you want to search for a phrase, you can use the + sign in the search text box to join the words together: for example peace+treaty. This will search for text containing the word peace, followed afterwards by the word treaty.

You can search for a word marking a single missing letter with a ?: for example - l?nch will give results that include the word lunch, lynch or linch.

Multiple missing letters can be marked with a *: for example - dev*nt will give results that include the word devrient, development or deviant.

The search engine can recognise a standard Hansard reference, such as: HC Deb 19 July 1982 vol 28 cc58-9W and will take you straight to where the reference points to, if we have the data.

Faceted search

Where available, a link to "Filter results by speaker or house" will be shown. Using the links provided, you can build a search query as you go: you can add or remove 'facets' - and the search results will be updated to take account of them. You can also bookmark a faceted search result set.

Faceted search allows complex queries to be built up without requiring complex search forms. Facets that lead to empty result sets are not shown.