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Researching for your literature review: Activity: Keyword searching

Keyword searching in Scopus

Keyword searching tips:

  • Keywords are simply the terms used within an article.
  • A database will generally search for keywords in the title and abstract fields, and may also search other fields of the database record.
  • It is important to include alternative spellings and synonyms for your keywords to retrieve all articles on your topic. 

Activity: do a keyword search in Scopus

1.  Login to Scopus at

Enter student* OR pupil* OR  "young people*"  OR  learner* and click on the search button. Note: You can specify which fields you wish to search for these terms

 screenshot of student* OR pupil* OR  "young people*"  OR  learner* in Scopus search box

From the results page, click the Search link at the top right of the screen to return to the search box. Clear the existing search.

Enter perception*  OR  experience*  OR  voice* OR perspective* and click on the search button.

screenshot of perception*  OR  experience*  OR  voice* OR perspective* in Scopus search box

From the results page, click the Search link at the top right of the screen to return to the search box. Clear the existing search.

Enter inclusi*  OR  "special education"  OR  belonging  OR  disabilit* and click on the search button.

screenshot of inclusi*  OR  "special education"  OR  belonging  OR  disabilit* in Scopus search box

2.  From the results page, click on the Search link at the top left of the screen to return to the main search page.

Scroll down to see the Search History box. The three search sets can now be combined using this Search History menu.

Enter the search set numbers into the Combine queries… box, with AND between each set, and then click the magnifying glass icon.       

screenshot of the Scopus Search History with #1 AND #2 AND #3 in search box

3.  In the Refine results table on the side of the results, choose Language. Click the down arrow to expand the menu. Tick English, then the Limit to button.

screenshot of the Scopus language limit with English selected

4.  Use the Sort on links to change the order of the results. Select the Relevance link.

screenshot of the Scopus sort by relevance drop down menu

5.  Review your results and adjust your search if necessary.

You can test your initial search strategy in the following ways:

  • Does it retrieve relevant papers?

  • Does it retrieve the papers from your “sample set”?

If you retrieve too many results, try:

  • using more specific search terms
  • using limits
  • adding another term and combining with your previous result set using and

If you are not finding any or only a few results, try:

  • a different database
  • using more general search terms
  • removing limits e.g. publication year
  • checking a known reference for alternative keywords

6. Locate full text using the Check for full text button

screenshot of the Check for Full Text button in the search results

Click on the link in the Search catalogue to open the full text of the article.

screenshot of the full text link in the Search catalogue

If full text is not available online, the following Search catalogue window will appear

screenshot of the Search catalogue page that displays if full text is not found

Click Search tips to try an alternative search for the full text of this article. If your search still does not match any resource in the library, sign in to place a document delivery request for this item.