Searching for literature

Searching for literature, also called desk research or literature research, is part of every study. But what is the best way to get to the results in a quick and efficient manner? And how do you make sure that the results are reliable and relevant to you?

During your literature search you generally follow the same steps, namely:

  1. Formulate a research question
  2. Define keywords and conduct a basic search string
  3. Use smart searching techniques
  4. Determine which sources and databases you will use for your search
  5. Assess the information you found
  6. Use the information in your paper (Referencing!)

To keep track of what you found where, we suggest you keep a log of the search string you entered in what database and what results it gave you. By copy pasting your search string out of the log, you save time and effort, and later on it is easier to account for the references you found.

Are you having trouble in your search? Please come by during the walk-in hours of the library or send an email.


Have a look at the tips and tricks below!


Want to study efficiently 
and with ease?

Want to get tips on how to formulate the best search terms and how to recognize good quality sources?
Watch our Minilectures on Youtube!

Go to Youtube

Referencing - why?

When using other sources in your own assignment, paper or thesis, you are obliged to refer to these sources.

Referencing is done for multiple reasons:

First, you acknowledge the work of the original creator, and the effort he or she put into it.

Second, you give others the opportunity to check out the original sources, whether is it is to verify what you write about them or just because the reader is interested in the specific source.


See the information below on how to reference in a correct way, using APA-style.


Assessing sources


Referencing when using images

When using images you find on the internet or in a database, it is also necessary to mention the source! How to do that? Follow the link below to get to the Library Guide about referencing with images (currently only in Dutch).

Citing Sources According to APA Guidelines

Click on the link below and the PDF will be opened.

RefWorks - introduction video

Additional information: ATLAS.ti



ATLAS.ti is a tool for qualitative data analysis, that is freely available for all Hanze students. If you would like some more information about ATLAS.ti, follow the links below. 

Video Atlas.ti

Library consultation hour: now digital!

Online consultation hours Hanze Library are available every working day!
The information specialists organize daily online consultation hours so that you can ask questions about literature research.

Every workday between 11:30 and 12:30 you can ask us your questions through​ this link in Blackboard Collaborate. (Open this link in Google Chrome.)


Do you have questions about literature research? We would be happy to speak to you during the online consultation hour!

Team Information specialists Hanze Library

Other helpful resources

Here are some interesting links and other Library Guides for you to check out.