Guide to using Official Report search

Keyword
To search for a phrase, enter it in quotation marks e.g. “curriculum for excellence”. If more than one word is entered without quotation marks, the database will return results containing all the words followed by results containing any of the words.

Select MSP
There are two alphabetical lists within this drop-down menu. Current MSPs and Law Officers are in the first A-Z list, and previous MSPs and Law Officers then follow in a separate list.

It is also possible to enter a name by clicking on ‘Choose an MSP/Law Officer’ and typing their name—the list automatically updates as letters are entered.

Results per page

If searching for a frequently discussed topic, select “100”. This will allow for more results to be displayed on one page.

Sort by

Sorting by relevance gives the matches closest to the word or phrase and/or MSP searched for. Sorting by date lists the most recent results first.

Additional options via Advanced Search

Select Party

Select a party to search for contributions by MSPs belonging to a specific political party, or for those who are independent of any party. This list includes parties which are not currently represented in the Scottish Parliament, and will include MSPs who have previously represented specific parties.

Select Constituency or Region
Select a constituency or region to search for contributions by either constituency MSPs or regional MSPs. Results will include MSPs who previously held seats in selected areas.

Date Range
To enter specific dates choose ‘Date Range’ from the drop-down menu and use the calendar to scroll through to the required dates or enter the appropriate dates.

The option ‘Last 24 Hours’ will produce plenary debates and reports of committee meetings published in that period (the meetings may have taken place earlier).

Other periods are also available covering the last 3 months, the last 6 months, and each of the Parliamentary sessions to date.

Type of Parliamentary Business
A search can be refined by types of business in the Parliament’s debating chamber and its committees. You can select more than one item of business. The items of business available are:

  • Parliamentary debates
  • Oral questions (including First Minister’s questions)
  • First Minister’s questions  
  • Committee meetings, which then allows a specific committee to be selected

Level of detail

You can use this option to narrow search results.

Selecting ‘contribution’ offers links that take you directly to contributions which include the keyword or phrase you have searched for. This is the best option for a contribution from a specific MSP on a specific topic.

Selecting ‘item of business’ takes you to the start of the debate or committee agenda item featuring the word/phrase searched for. This is useful to see an entire debate or evidence session on a chosen topic, especially if not all other details are known. 

For a more general search, ‘report’ gives links to all Official Reports which feature the word/phrase you entered. This is useful for an overview of how often a topic has been discussed. 

Further assistance

Please contact us if you would like any further assistance to help you use the search facility.