In eDiscovery, lawyers often think they’re experts at crafting keyword search terms to reduce the volume of documents for manual review. Unfortunately, lawyers, and human beings in general, are not good at stringing together Boolean search terms that result in finding all relevant, or potentially relevant, documents.
The problem with developing highly-accurate keyword search terms is often caused by one of two things:
- The human tendency toward confirmation bias – “the tendency to search for, interpret, and recall information in a way that confirms one's pre-existing beliefs or hypotheses”. – The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making, p. 233
- Humans don’t know what they don’t know, or what I like to call, the “unknown unknowns”.
The result? Keyword search strings inherently miss the "unknown unknowns", and are therefore not complete.