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Search Library: Search structure basics
Search Library: Search structure basics

Learn the key components on how to create an effective search to answer your most pressing questions

Mark Jones avatar
Written by Mark Jones
Updated over a week ago

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When you search for information in AlphaSense, you’re accustomed to seeing thousands of relevant documents return within seconds. You may have found yourself wondering how AlphaSense connected the dots between your query and the end results displayed to you, especially if you didn’t find what you were expecting.

In this series, we go behind the curtain with real searches and show you the context about how and why AlphaSense returned the results to you, and how you can get even more out of the platform. Whether you’re approaching a topic for the very first time, or you need to pinpoint a precise piece of information, understanding the 4 basic components on how search works, will help you build the perfect query for your research needs.

Universe: Simply put, the Universe is the “who” you’re centering your search around and defining it is the best place to start your search. Typically, your Universe will be one of the following: a single company, a specific set of companies, an entire industry, or every company in the world.

Voice: Knowing what information you can find within each document type is critical to building a search. We like to think about Voice in terms of the author - be it company leadership, analysts or the media - each of these groups have their own unique voice, and different insights can be gleaned from specific sources. Therefore, the Voice of your search is the defined list of sources you’re searching across. Depending on what you’re looking for, it could be as narrow as one source type or as broad as every content source in the platform.

Topic: For the majority of users, the most familiar component of creating a search is the Topic. Your Topic can be one single search term, such as “revenue” or can be a more complex query that leverages boolean operators. Luckily, within AlphaSense, your search powers are supercharged by our NLP algorithms that pick up on nuances in human language, and allow you to more easily find what you’re looking for.

(Run search)

Refine (optional): The last step in creating a search is refining it based on your initial results. Perhaps you only want to see documents with your topic in the title, or you’d like to limit your search results to only documents released within the past 7 days. All of this is possible with AlphaSense’s enhanced search features.

Now, let’s try it out. Say you want to answer the following question:

What was Google’s ad revenue last quarter?

Using our outline above, you’ll want to make sure you take the following steps:

  • Universe: Add Alphabet’s ticker to the Ticker Search box

  • Voice: Toggle the facet to filter for only Company Documents

  • Topic: Add my search terms “ad revenue $” to the thematic search box

When you run your search, you can see Google’s most recent SEC filings and earnings transcripts.

Upon clicking into Google’s most recent earnings transcript, you are directed straight to the snippets mentioning last quarter’s ad revenues per product line. No need to refine this search any further!

Up Next

We’ll dive deeper into the search Universe and showcase different ways to narrow (or expand) results depending on your research question.

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