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How To Use the Science Direct Database: Home

How To Use Science Direct

Provided by a vendor named Elsevier, Science Direct is, as its name suggests, our best database for researching scientific topics. However, it's also great for social science (education, psychology) and business topics.

All journal articles in Science Direct are scholarly. The books in Science Direct are also scholarly. However, reference works and images cannot be considered scholarly.



  1. Go to library's home page at
  2. Click Article Databases
  3. Scroll down the alphabetical list and click on Science Direct.
  4. Enter your Empire login and password.
  5. That will take you to the Science Direct main page, from which you can either search for your keywords or browse by topic.


Basic Search


When you first log into Science Direct:

  1. You will see the Basic Search boxes at the top of the screen. Type your search into the box and click the Search button.

    Search Tips:

    • Put quotation marks around any search phrase or exact combination of keywords (e.g.; "United States of America" or "social psychology").
    • Use AND between two keywords or phrases to search for articles containing both terms. (e.g.; Sumatra and tsunami).
    • Use OR between keywords to search for articles containing either term (e.g.; teaching or pedagogy).
    • For more information about keyword searching with Boolean Operators, see Using AND, OR & NOT to Combine Keywords.
  2. You can also Browse Publications By Subject area using the expandable list right below the search box, on the left side. 
  3. If you know the title of the journal you want (not the article!) you can use the Browse Publications By Title menu, which is below the search boxes, on the right.

Advanced Search

To get to the advanced search screen, click the Advanced Search link, which is in small print, way over to the right of the Basic Search boxes. 


  1. Advanced search allows you to "Find articles with these terms" and also specify additional information (if you already know it) such as: the journal or book title, the year of publication, author(s), volume, issue, pages.
  2. There are additional fields under "Show all fields" including: Title, abstract or author-specific keywords, Title, References and ISSN or ISBN.
  • You can still use AND, OR, NOT, quotation marks and parentheses inside the search boxes the same way you would in Basic Search.

For more detailed assistance in using Science Direct advanced search use the ScienceDirect Support Center.

Search Results List

Make sure you are signed in with access via our institution (Empire State University). If you are logged in properly you will see your log in next to the organizational access in the header.

For more information on the benefits of being logged in and accessing through our institution see Science Direct LibGuide.


Search Results Page

  1. Above the search results are the suggested publications (books or journals) which have relevance to your search terms. 
  2. Your search results page will display 25 search results per page, by default. If there is more than one page of search results, you will see page numbers at the bottom right.There is also an option to view 25, 50 or 100 results per page on the left hand side.
    • Search results are displayed in order from most relevant to least relevant. The user also has the option to sort by date.
  3. The title of the article is a link to the Article Information page.
  4. Beneath each search result the PDF icon (if the full-text is available), abstract, extracts, and the ability to export the citation to RefWorks, RIS, BibTeX, and to text.
  5. On the left side of the search results page is the result page information and limiters. Use it to narrow your search (more on this in Refining Your Search.)


Article Information

Click on the title of the article to get to the Article Information page, where you will find:

  1. Authors, journal name, volume, issue, page numbers, publication date, options to share and cite, and the DOI
    • The DOI is a unique identifier and permalink for the article, and is needed to cite the article. You can also use it to get back to the article later.
    • Download PDF: If you want to print the article, you should first download the PDF, open it in your PDF reader, and print it from there. (You will need to have software to open PDF files, such as Adobe Reader.)
  2. Abstract, which is a summary of the article's content. Read this before you spend too much time trying to locate or read the full-text! Also HTML full-text (scroll down to find it!)
  3. An outline that you can use to click through the HTML full-text.
  4. Recommended Articles - a great way to find articles on the same topic!
  5. Article Metrics - Citations, captures, mentions

Finding Full-text

Science Direct almost always has the full-text. The exceptions are articles that are still in pre-publication status. Because they are not published yet, they will not be available through Google Scholar or any of the other library databases either. 

Articles are available in HTML full-text. You can find them by scrolling down below the Abstract in the Article Information page, and you can also navigate from section to section and from image to image using the Outline on the left side of that page. 

Articles are also available as downloadable PDF files. PDFs are formatted exactly the same as the paper version. If you want to print an article, you should download the PDF first, and then print. (You will need to have software to open PDF files, such as Adobe Reader.)

Science Direct lets you download (save) the PDF full-text from two locations. One is right under the article in the search results list. Here you can View PDF and select multiple articles within the result list to download selected articles. See below.

The other is at the top of the Article Information page. See below.


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