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KIN 470: Scopus: Finding highly cited papers

This library guide outlines useful health resources for completing your research assignments for KIN 470.


Scopus is a multidisciplinary database providing journal coverage in a wide range of disciplines including health, engineering, computer science, health policy, social sciences and more.  It is one of the few research databases which also provide links to the cited references of each article and therefore can track who is citing whom.

Start with a good Scopus search strategy

Find the best evidence by building a comprehensive search strategy using multiple keywords.  This systematic approach to searching helps to ensure an efficient and comprehensive scan of the literature. Sample research question: Is balance training an effective intervention for reducing falls in the older population?

Sample search strategy:

"balance training" OR "balance exercise*"
"older adult*" OR elderly OR aging
"fall prevention" OR "accidental fall*"


OR: groups related words or synonyms together

AND: separates main concepts of the research topic

exercis*: using truncation (*) searches different word endings such as exercise, exercising, exercises

"older adult*":  phrase searching ("  ") searches for the keywords as a phrase, in the exact order you wrote them.

What papers are everyone citing on your research topic?

Scopus has the ability to sort the set of results in order of highest cited.  This will help you identify the most highly cited papers, or the articles that appear most often of the reference lists of other published papers, within your research topic.

Step 1:  Search Scopus for articles on your topic.  Try to create as comprehensive a search as possible.

Step 2: Sort on 'Cited By'.  This will re-sort the list and bring the most highly cited papers to the top.


Now, look through the results and find the papers that researchers are citing the most.  These are the studies that they reference most often so it would make sense that you should reference them too!