Basic and Advanced Search Queries

SEARCH QUERY is a complex of search terms, their chosen form and target, and operators that connect them. With a query you express your information needs in a database in such a way, that system can perform a logic search.

QUERY FORM means the interface of a search engine. In the form, you place the search terms and choose the operators in order to formulate the query.

Names of the search types might vary from database to database. The basic idea is either to search in a quick and rough way: Basic search; or to search with more detailed and tailored way: Advanced search.

Basic search

BASIC SEARCH –type form contains one box where you type the whole query.

A non-filled search box with a guiding text 'find'.

All operators and parentheses, if needed, must be typed by yourself. For instance, in order to make OR-operation to be executed first (as always should), you must place it in parentheses.


  • Example 1: “chemical structure*”
  • Example 2: swan OR cygnus
  • Example 3: bioenergy AND “remote sensing”
  • Example 4: (pollut* OR contamination) AND “wood preservation” AND chemicals

Usually, if you don’t type anything between search terms, there will be the AND-operator by default.

A search box with terms: optic fiber. The explanation: optic fiber is same as: optic and fiber.

Advanced search

ADVANCED SEARCH –type form allows you to make more sophisticated queries. It also makes the use of operators structured.

Three search boxes one below the other. Between the boxes pull-down menus, where the option 'AND' is selected. After the search boxes pull-down menus, where the option 'Anywhere' is selected.

It is easy to make a logic query if you think that one line in query form is equivalent to one search concept.

All the alternative terms referring to the same concept are written to the same line. Between the alternative terms, you must type the OR-operator by yourself.

The next concept is written to the next line. Lines (concepts) are connected with AND-operator. This is a way to ensure that OR-operations are done first, then AND-operations.

With Advanced search, it is also easy to select the fields to be searched for.


  • willow OR salix (in: Title-Abstract-Keywords)
    “short rotation” OR srf (in: Title)
    production OR cultivation OR crop* (in: Title)

See Scopus-database tutorial for document searching:

To Do:

  1. Use Advanced search form, if you have more than one or two search terms

Next page: Utilising fields