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Searching Scopus

This tutorial by Elsevier demonstrates Scopus features and search techniques.  Or use this shorter tutorial to get started on a basic search.  (You need the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player.  To download the player free of charge, go to the Adobe website or switch to Google Chrome or Internet Explorer which have Adobe Flash Player built in.)

Scopus Search Tips

Scopus searches the bibliographic record (not full text articles).  The default document search is title/abstract/keyword.  Use the dropdown menu next to the search bar to select a different search field.

Keywords include those provided by authors, and index keywords from MeSH, Emtree or Compendex

Choosing search terms  

  • Choose search terms which are specific or closely related to your research topic.
  • Choose terms you might use when discussing the topic with a colleague, including current jargon.
  • Include synonyms and abbreviations.
  • The search is not case-sensitive. 
  • Using the singular form of a word retrieves the singular, plural, and possessive forms of most words.

 Using Boolean operators     Learn about Boolean Operators

  • You can use Boolean operators (AND, OR, AND NOT) 
  • If you use more than one operator in your search, Scopus interprets your search according to the order of precedence
  • To search for an exact phrase, including any stop words, spaces and punctuation, enclose the phrase in brackets: {oyster toadfish}.
  • To find articles where search terms appear adjacent to each other enclose the terms in double quotes:  "cell behavior"
Proximity Operators and Wildcards  Learn more about finding word variants
  • PRE/n "precedes by".  The first term in the search must precede the second by a specified number of terms (n).
  • W/n "within". The terms in the search must be within a specified number of terms (n). Either word may appear first. 
  • Use the following guidelines when choosing a number for "n":
    • To find terms in the same phrase, use 3, 4, or 5.
    • To find terms in the same sentence, use 15.
    • To find terms in the same paragraph, use 50.
    • To find adjacent terms, use 0. 
  • Replace a single character anywhere in a word. Use one ? for each character you want to replace
  • Replace multiple characters anywhere in a word. 
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