The library offers access to a variety of sources that enable you to search for scholarly information. A good starting point is sEURch, our search engine. In addition, the subject specific databases are available. How to find your way through this? Use the tool: Search our collection or read the Search advice.
Search our collection
To help you prepare an assignment or write a paper or thesis, the University Library has created a 5-point Quick Start to help you quickly and effectively find sources and manage the metadata of those sources.
1. Before you start your search
Divide your hypothesis (research question) in elements.
The search for relevant sources starts with your problem statement (research question). To find sources that enable you to answer your research question, you first need to divide the main question into separate elements.
Defining search terms
After you have split-up the research question in several elements, you have to think of at least one, but preferably more search terms per element.
2. Where to start your search?
How do you know which type of sources (for instance: articles, books, newspaper articles, financial data) can be found where? Use I’m searching for...!
3. How to search?
Combine search terms by using Boolean operators such as: AND, OR and NOT in order to prevent ending up with an enourmous list of search results.
Three frequently used search techniques:
Quick and dirty: a quick search by topic via sEURch
Systematic search by topic: via databases
Through references: if you already know the title of the source you are looking for (Snowball method, Citation method)
4. You have a list of results, now what?
Assess the results.
Too many non-relevant results? Refine your search: make better combinations of search terms, use more relevant search terms or filter the results list (for instance: on the type of publication, year of publication, language, peer-reviewed/scholarly publications). Not enough results? Expand your search: use less search terms.
In case you doubt if the sources you have found have enough quality even though they appear relevant, ask your professor for his/her opinion. Ultimately, they are the experts in your discipline.
5. Referencing and citing
Save the information (metadata) of every individual source you (might) want to use. This metadata is also called reference. A reference consists , for example, of: the title and author of the publication, year of publication, page numbers and an URL.
It is convenient to save all references in a one place. You can use an online reference manager to do this. The EUR uses RefWorks. It also enables you to make a literature/sources list in the citation style prescribed by your department.