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Database Help

A guide with tips and videos to improve your database searching.


Scopus is a comprehensive abstract and citation database covering the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Scopus indexes content from 24,600 active titles and 5,000 publishers. 

Register for a Scopus account to save searches for topics or authors. You can also set up alerts to be notified about new content on your subject, new articles by a particular author, or new citations to an article.

Basic Search

You can search for: documents (includes journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings), authors, or affiliations.  

Basic Search Tips:

  1. The default search, a document search, includes title, abstract, and author-provided keywords. Scopus connects search terms with an implicit AND when you enter two or more terms.  
  2. Scopus automatically will search for: accented characters, lemmatization (plural / adjectival forms), and equivalents ("behavior" and "behaviour").
  3. Scopus ignores punctuation and stop words ("the", "it", "of").
Table of search operators, use, and examples
Operator Use Example
OR At least one term must appear liver OR cirrhosis
AND Both terms must appear addiction and behavior
AND NOT Exclude one term lung AND NOT cancer
" " Loose phrase search, looks for words together, but will include singular/plurals and wildcards "addictive behavior"
{ } Exact phrase search, looks for the exact phrase or word {color} will return color, not colour
* Wildcard search, looks for the root word and alternate endings or beginnings Enxym* will return enzyme, enzymes, enzymatic, and enzymology
? Wildcard search, looks for the word with any single character in place of the ? ?NA with retrieve RNA or DNA
W/# Proximity search, terms must be # number of words near each other, in any order zika W/2 virus
PRE/# Proximity search, terms must be # number of words near each other, in a order "whole genome" PRE/4 sequence

Limiting Results:

  • Use the left-hand sidebar to search with results.
  • The left-hand search bar also has facets to limit results by: year, author, subject, document type, source, keyword, affiliation, and language.

Cited Reference Search

You can use Scopus to conduct a cited reference search. Typically, cited reference searching involves having a scholarly work in-hand that you like and you want to see who else has used that work in their research. 


  1. Search for the work you have in-hand as a document search in Scopus. Include keywords from the title and the last name of the first author.
  2. Locate your work in the search results list.
  3. On the right hand side, you can see how many times the work was cited. 
  4. Click on the Cited by number to open up a search results list of just works that have cited the paper you have in hand.
  5. You can then limit those results or search within them using the facets and search box on the left-hand side.

Scopus Search Results with Cited By column highlighted

Analyze Results

At the top of the documents search results list, click 'Analyze search results' to visualize and explore results by year, author, subject and more. 

Advanced Search

Going Further