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Scopus at Boston College



Scopus v Web of Science guide adapted from U of Washington guide on the same topic

Document Search -- the Default Search

  1. In the Search for box, enter your search term(s) or phrase(s). 
    Note: See Search tips for more information and examples or the Search Hints on right column of this libguide.
  2. Using the drop-down list, choose the field that the terms should appear in.
  3. If necessary, you can add more text boxes by clicking Add Search field.
  4. If you use more than one text box, select an operator from the drop-down list.
    • AND
    Results must contain all terms listed.
    • OR
    Results must contain either this term or the previous term.
    • AND NOT
    Results must not contain this term.
  5. Use the Date Range options to limit your search to a certain time period.
    • Published: Limit your search to articles published within a range of years.
    • Added to Scopus in the last n days: Limit your search to documents that have been added to Scopus in the last 7, 14, or 30 days.
  6. Use the Document Type list to limit your search to a specific type of document, such as Review or Conference paper.
  7. Select one or more Subject Areas to limit your search to certain subject areas.
    Tip: To view a list of subjects in a Subject Area, move your cursor over the subject area name.
  8. Click Search.

Scopus Tutorial: This tutorial will explain how to enter search terms and specify fields, make a search more specific to narrow your results, and how to work with previous searches from the current session.

Refine your Search

There are 2 methods to refine your seach: Use the Search within Results box or Refine Results section on the left side of the screen.

Using Refine Results you can limit your results list to certain categories of documents, such as year, subject area, document type, etc. This can help you narrow the list to the most relevant results.

To refine the results list

  1. If necessary, click the open and close buttons (with up and down arrow icons) to open or close a category.
  2. Click check boxes to select items you want to limit your results to, or to exclude. You can select items from more than one category.
  3. Click a number in parentheses to open the preview box of the corresponding results.
  4. Click either Limit to or Exclude. Limit to changes the results list to display only the items you selected. Exclude removes the items you selected from the results list. Note: When you limit by Subject Area, the Multidisciplinary subject is included.


Search Hints

  • Multiple words will be processed with the AND operator.
  • Use double quotes to search for a phrase.      Ex.  "heart attack"
  • The asterisk * is the wildcard and replaces any number of characters. Ex.  toxi* will search for toxin, toxic, toxicity, and so on.
  • Entering either British or American spelling (color, colour) will search for both variations.
  • Singular nouns will also search for plural nouns and possessives.

Advanced Search

On the Advanced search form, you can create a search using field codes, proximity operators, or Boolean operators to narrow the scope of the search. For example:

  • ALL("heart attack") AND AUTHOR-NAME(smith)
  • TITLE-ABS-KEY( *somatic complaint wom?n ) AND PUBYEAR > 1993
  • SRCTITLE(*field ornith*) AND VOLUME(75) AND ISSUE(1) AND PAGES(53-66)

To create an advanced search

  1. Enter your search terms using proximity or Boolean operators as necessary to connect them.

    For more information on creating searches see Search tips and Field codes.

  2. As you enter your search, Scopus may highlight suggested codes and provide code definitions and examples. To add the suggested code to your search, press Enter.
  3. Click Search.


To view your search in outline form

To make long or complicated searches easier to read, you can view them in outline form which displays each section of your search starting with an operator on a separate line.

  1. Click the Outline query button to view your search in outline form.
  2. Click Compact query to return to the "normal" form of the search.