Skip to Main Content

Library Resources for Nursing PhD Students: Exploring: Scopus

This guide provides information on how best to utilize library resources throughout your PhD program at the College of Nursing.

Start here


Limits and filters allow you to narrow the results down to only the ones that are most relevant. Common limits that are applied include: article type, date, and language.

Tip: the more limits and filters you set, the narrower your results will be. It is possible for you to limit your results all the way down to 0, so be careful.

Tip 2: do not limit by Full Text. As a student of ECU, you can receive the full text of articles either with your PirateID and password, or through our free Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service if ECU does not own a copy of the article. Electronic resources can be e-mailed to your ECU account.

Using Scopus

Personal accounts in databases are free, and I strongly recommend creating an account for each database you may use. They are particularly valuable when you need to save your searches for longer than your current browsing period. Closing your browser almost always erases your search history; having a personal account allows you to save searches that you may want to look at again later.

To create an account in Scopus, click on the white Create account button in the top right hand corner. Enter the e-mail address you'd like to use, then click Continue. Fill out the form on the next page to finish creating your account.


Scopus makes its basic search feature fairly simple. Just copy and paste the search string you created from your concept table into the search bar.

(Nurse OR Nurses OR "Nursing personnel") AND ("Health literacy") AND (Rural OR "Rural areas" OR "Rural health centers" OR "Rural population" OR "Rural populations" OR "Rural health nursing" OR "Underserved populations")

After clicking the Search button, you will see the results page.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to search in Scopus

You can apply limits to the results by selecting them on the left-hand sidebar. Once you have selected your filters, click Limit To. This will refresh the page and filter the results.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to set filters in Scopus

To access articles that look relevant to you, click on the article title to open the article page. Click on the purple Find It button in the top left hand corner. If ECU has access to the full text, you will see an option to download the PDF on the publisher's website. If this option does not appear, please complete the Interlibrary Loan request form to have it e-mailed to you.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to access PDFs in Scopus

To save results in RefWorks, check the boxes of desired articles from the results page. Click Export, then select RIS Format and Export.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to save to RefWorks in Scopus

Log in to RefWorks from the Laupus homepage, then click Add.

Select Import References.

Click "select a file from your computer."

Find the PubMed .nbib file that you downloaded.

Then click Import, Import, OK.

To view the full record for an article, click on the title. To read the full abstract, click on "View full abstract."

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to save articles to RefWorks in Scopus

Other features of Scopus

Searching by author in Scopus allows you to find literature published by a selected author. This can be especially handy when you want to know more about the types of research written by a prolific author in the field (for instance, a nurse theorist). To search by author in Scopus, click on the tab Authors. Then, enter the last name and at least the first initial into the boxes, then click Search.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to search by author in Scopus.

On the next page, you can click on the author's name to view their record page. This page will list publications by this author in order of date.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to search by author in Scopus.

Forward searching allows you to search the title of a resource, and then see who has that source on their reference page. This can be useful especially in the case when you have a narrow topic, or if you have an article that is outside of a required date range.

To perform a forward search on an article, click on the Documents tab. Type the title of your source article, and be sure to use double quotation marks (" ") around the entire title. For instance: "Self-Care: A Foundational Science" will tell the database that you want all words to be kept together and in that exact order. Once you have done that, click on Search.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to complete a forward search in Scopus.

On the results page, look for a number in the Cited by column. If there is no number, then that means Scopus was unable to find your source article in the reference pages of their holdings. If there is a number in that column, you can click on the number, and then you will see a results page.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to complete a forward search in Scopus.

If you conduct a forward search like this in Scopus, be sure to include a statement in your paper that you searched databases (if you did), and that you also conducted a forward search of selected articles in Scopus.

Ask a Librarian

Live Chat

Chat with a librarian is available 9-5 Monday-Saturday.

You can also contact a librarian.

Call us:

1-888-820-0522 (toll free)


Or email us:

Provide Feedback on this Guide

Please follow the link below to complete a short survey and provide feedback on this guide.

Research Guide Satisfaction Survey