Finding and using literature

How can you search in a smart way?

Searching for literature, also called desk-research, is a part of every programme. It can be a small task, like 'search for a recent news article' or a bigger assignment, such as finding theoretical and academic support for your thesis research question. 

How can you find the literature you need in a fast and efficient way? By following the steps mentioned below!

By taking these steps, you'll learn:

  • how to formulate a correct search question and how to select the right search terms;
  • what variety of information sources exists and how to search in these sources;
  • where you can find the right information;
  • how to assess the quality of information (from the internet);
  • how you can use the found information in a report, article, presentation etc.;
  • how you can keep overview over the whole search process.

This is how it works:

The different information literacy skills are separated in steps, based on the 'Big6' of information literacy. This is a well known checklist developed by Berkowitz and Eisenberg (1990) with the steps you take when answering a research question.


The steps each have their own page under the menu button 'Steps literature research'.



Tool for literature research

An important tool for desk-research is the information logbook, in which you write down the progress of your search.

  • collecting: in the logbook you write down your search terms, new terms you come across during searching, databases you are using, filters you're applying, etc. 
  • sorting: you can use you logbook to note the literature you found and write down in what part of your assignment you want to use the information
  • evaluating: during searching, you often make choices. Thanks to your logbook, you can reflect during and after your search on these choices and adjust them if necessary.

A logbook prevents you doing searches twice and gives you insight in the search process.

Hanze Library is the start to your research

What is the deep web, and how can you search for reliable information there? Is Google the best way to find reliable information? Discover by watching our Minilecture: Library vs. Google.

Want a visual short version? Check out this minilecture!

Go to Step 1