Hacking Scopus: Finding Journal Articles in the Sciences and Social Sciences

HScopusHere at Geneseo, Scopus is your go-to source for finding scholarly articles in the sciences (biology, chemistry, geological sciences, physics astronomy, mathematics, etc.) and social sciences (psychology, communication, sociology, etc.)  There are other tools that provide more depth coverage in some of these disciplines, but Scopus is often a good start.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of this high quality resource.

First, take advantage of the built in filtering tools.

Most folks start with a broad search with just a couple of search terms:

squirrels and hibernation

And you often get lots of results – too many to actually look through.  So take advantage of the filtering tools in Scopus.  On the right hand side, click on the arrow next to the “keyword” heading.  Click “View more” a couple of times and you are left with a list of terms.  Scopus has analyzed your search results and counted up the keywords identified by the article authors.  You can click one or more of these boxes to filter your results to get a smaller set of articles.  This keyword filter can also act as a useful tool to help you narrow down a project topic.

Scopus keyword filtering

Second, let Scopus help you make connections between different pieces of the scholarly literature.

Journal articles don’t live in a vacuum.  The results, experiments and studies discussed in each article have roots in the results, experiments and studies of other researchers.  It’s how the scholarly enterprise works.

The first thing to do is the check out the bibliography of a promising journal article. You can do this once you get your hands on the article, but Scopus can give you a head start, especially for articles you need to order through IDS.  Just click on the title of any article and scroll to the bottom to see the bibliography and convenient “Get It” buttons for journal articles.

Scopus References


Next, you want to find out which other scholars thought that your promising article was important enough to their research to cite in their bibliography.  In Scopus, scroll to the top of the page for the article, then click on the number in the “Cited by” box.  Here you can browse a list of articles that cited your original article.

Scopus Cited By

Tracking citations in this way is a great way to find additional sources, and it can often make connecting those sources easier.

Third, take advantage of the “Related Documents” box that appears on the right hand side of each article page in Scopus.  For each article listed, Scopus analyzes its bibliography and finds other articles that cite the same sources.

Scopus Related


Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you use Scopus more efficiently so you can find your references and get started with your projects faster.

What are your favorite Scopus tools?