Novelty searches (patentability searches, prior art searches) are aimed at finding publications that are relevant to be able to assess whether an invention is novel and inventive, two essential requirements to get a patent granted.
As such, novelty search reports can be used to make an informed decision whether or not to write and file a patent application.
Other terminology being used for the same type of search: patentability searches, prior art searches.
NPS Patent Searches
Quaerite et Invenietis