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Citation Indexes: Scopus & Web of Science

How to use Scopus and Web of Science for basic research and in-depth literature searching.

Search Strategies

Use these tips to search better and find what you need more efficiently in academic databases and other tools.

While different databases might have slight differences in their use of these terms, the goal is always the same: the more thorough your search string, the more relevant your search results will be, which saves you the time of looking through articles you know you don't want.


Terms that connect keywords to make a search more efficient


Results that include both concept A and concept B

strawberry AND banana



Results of concept A except those that include concept B

strawberry NOT banana

Note: Some databases (like Scopus) prefer the operator to be written as AND NOT


The results of all of concept A and all of concept B

strawberry OR banana


Other helpful things to use when searching

Word stems

Variations of the base word

? (middle of the word)

wom?n = women, woman

* (end of the base word)

[engine*] = engine, engineer, engineering, engineered (etc.)


Brings back the term or title within the quotations

Also known as "bound phrase".

"strawberry smoothie"


To expand your search string and include more terms

(strawberry OR banana) AND smoothie