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At the time of the 1991 census, the literacy rate among women aged seven and above was only 39 per cent, compared to 64 per cent among men. This gender bias is exceptionally large by international standards. According to Human Development Report 1998, only five countries in the world have a larger male-female literacy gap than India: Bhutan, Syria, Togo, Malawi and Mozambique.
Jean Dreze, May 1999

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In a full text database like LEXIS-NEXIS, searching for more than one concept, especially when you include synonyms, will often result in a sizeable number of responses. Unfortunately, not all of the articles retrieved may be relevant. In some cases the terms may appear in the article far away from each other and not share a relationship, or the article may be on a quite different topic and only contain your search terms incidentally. LEXIS-NEXIS has two good options for ridding your search of such hits.

Option One: Require that the search terms be present in the headline or lead paragraph. If an article is really "about" a topic, the key descriptive words are usually present in either the headline (i.e. article title) or in the article's first paragraph. This is especially true for actual news stories that pack all of the significant facts into the lead paragraph.


Option Two: Feature articles, interviews, reviews and other articles do not necessarily follow the pattern of news stories, and restricting access to the "Headline and Lead Paragraph" may be too narrow. Instead, you should use "Full Text." It is possible, however, to eliminate hits where your search terms are far from each other and likely unrelated.

To rid the results of such hits, you can require that your search terms be close, or proximate, to each other by using a "proximity operator." In the LEXIS-NEXIS database, the proximity operator is represented by "w/" - which stands for "within x number of words" of each other.

For example, we can now require that one of our education-related words be within ten words of "India."

Because you are requiring two operators in the same search box (synonyms and proximity), you must instruct the database how to handle the situation.

Can you deduce what this search phrase would look like?
education and school and literacy and India
(education or school! or literacy) or5 India
(education or school! or literacy) w/20 India
(education or school! or literacy) w/10 India


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