Topic outline

  • General introduction

    Careful preparation is vital to a successful literature search. Doing research requires time and creativity.

    In this section we give you some useful tips for the following preparation steps: choice of topic and research question, definition of search terms, formulation of search queries, choice of information sources.

    • 1.1 Topic / research question

      Before you start your research it is important to choose a topic and then formulate a research question that limits your work to a specific subject.

      In this section you find some considerations on the selection of a topic and the definition of a specific research question. Further information on this subjects can be found in the specialist literature on academic writing.

      Pages: 5Quiz: 1Label: 1
    • 1.2 Search terms

      After the definition of your research question it is necessary to identify the main aspects of your topic and to compile a list of possible search terms.

      To define the search terms for your literature search you first need to identify the main aspects of your research question.

      The second step then is to compile a word list (model) with


      related terms

      generic terms

      subsumed concepts

      alternative spellings

      for each aspect of your research question.

      Pages: 2Quiz: 1
    • 1.3 Search query

      In this section we present you some techniques that can be used to combine single search terms to a search query.
      We recommend to put together a choice of alternative search queries before you start your literature search in the library catalogue and the subject databases.

      Pages: 5Quiz: 1
    • 1.4 Information needs

      There are different information sources available for the literature search.
      To choose the sources suitable to answer your research question it is necessary to determine your exact information needs.

      Pages: 3Quiz: 1