Advanced Searching

Getting Started The advanced search page is where you can enter in a more specific search than what is expained on the Home Page

This help page has several sections to help you with Advanced Searching in the 5* Site:


Why use Advanced Search? Advanced search offers more flexibility, accuracy, and power than the simple keyword search of the Home Page.  The disadvantage is the loss of simplicity compared to the keyword search.  If you are looking for something very specific, then using advanced search may help you find what you are looking for faster.  However, if you are looking for something more general, or simply want to browse through categories, the Home Page explanation is more appropriate.
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How to use Advanced Search An advanced search allows you to search the businesses and recommendations based on several different criteria: Business Name, Business Type, Subcategory, City, Street Address, Zip Code, and Minimum Rating.  You enter these criteria into the fields on the page.  In the fields, you can type single words, parts of words, or several words (which are not necessarily part of a phrase).  Advanced Search also supports wildcards.

The Advanced Search Page


Field explanation:

  • In Business Name, you can type the name (or part of the name) you are trying to find.

  • In Business Type and Subcategory, you can select the Business Type and/or Subcategory that you want from the drop-down boxes.  (e.g. Restaurant)


  • The Business Type Drop-Down Menu

  • Under City, you can type in the full or partial city name. (e.g. Chapel Hill)


  • Under Street Address, you can type in a full street address (e.g. 411 Franklin St.) or simply a street (e.g. Franklin St.)


  • Under Zip Code, if you choose to enter it, you must type in the full 5 digit zip code.


  • Under Minimum Rating, you can select a number from the drop-down box (1-5, including halves, e.g. 3.5).  Here "1" is a poor rating and "5" is an excellent rating.  This will pick all businesses with a rating of at least that number.

All of the fields are optional, which means you are not required to type something in every field. However, you must type something in at least one field to search on.  When you have entered in the criteria you want to search on, click the Search button. 

A Search Button

If there are businesses meeting the criteria you typed in, they will be displayed on the page, and you can select from the results.  Please see "How to Interpret your Results." 

If there are no businesses that match what you are searching for, you will receive a message stating that no results were found. You may then click the Advanced Search button at the top or bottom of the page and re-enter search criteria. 

Failure Message

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Walk Through This section is an example of an Advanced Search.  Note: This is just an example, and the sample results and pictures may not accurately reflect what you will get if you follow the same steps on the actual page. 

You are looking for a good Mexican restaurant on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, NC.  You select "Restaurant" as the Business Type, "Mexican" as the Subcategory, "Franklin" as the Street Address, "Chapel Hill" as the City, and "3" as the Minimum Rating.

The Walk Through Values

You click the Search button.  No restaurants appear with those specifications:

Failure Message

You decide to remove the specification for a minimum 3 rating:

The New Walk Through Values

You click Search once more and get this back:

The Results

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Troubleshooting Possible Issues while doing an Advanced Search:

My search doesn't return anything!

  • You could be specifying too many criteria for this search.  Clear some fields and try your search again.
  • You could have spelled something wrong.  You need to have all your search criteria spelled correctly or the database will probably not be able to bring up anything at all.
  • This business might not be in the database at all.
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