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Techniques for searching

  • The search is not case sensitive.
  • A hyphen is considered a space.
  • Scopus will automatically search for some variations on words, such as plurals, e.g. criterion will find criteria.
  • ‘Stop words’ such as 'the', 'his', 'because' are ignored, unless the phrase is enclosed in quotation marks "". Smart/curly-quote marks (“”) are ignored - you need to use standard quotation marks ("").
  • The question mark ? symbol will replace a single character, while an asterisk * will replace multiple characters, e.g. wom?n will find women or woman; colour* will find colourful, coloured, etc.
  • Boolean searching is available – choose from the drop down boxes when search fields are added, or type in the operators (AND, OR, AND NOT).
  • Take care if using multiple operators as they are processed in the following order of precedence: OR, AND, AND NOT.

How to search for a phrase in SCOPUS

There are two different ways to search for phrases in Scopus, a loose phrase or an exact phrase.

  • Using "quotation marks" will search for a loose phrase, where the words appear together in a fixed order. By default, Scopus automatically includes common variant spellings (eg US/UK) and most plural forms in the search. A loose phrase search can include wildcards, eg "wind turbine*" to match "wind turbine" or "wind turbines"; other punctuation is ignored.
  • To search for an exact phrase, use {curly brackets}. This will search only for the exact words as given, ignoring spelling variation or plurals. It will also force matching for punctuation, such as hyphens, which are normally treated as spaces.

"blue bird" = blue bird, blue birds, blue-bird

{blue bird} = blue bird only


Proximity searches

You can also search for words that are used close to each other, without being in an exact phrase, by using the proximity operator W/x. For example, deer W/5 conservation will find "deer conservation", "conservation of deer", "conservation of red deer", etc. The /x element says how many other words will be allowed between the two keywords, in this case five. It doesn't matter what order the words are in when you use W/x. If it is important to have them in a certain order, you can use Pre/x - a search for deer Pre/5 conservation will only returns results that use the word "deer" before the word "conservation".