Topic outline

  • General introduction

    This section is about evaluating and refining your literature search and about assessing the quality of search results. Furthermore, we give you some tips for the procurement of books and full text articles, for referencing and the use of reference management software and for useful literature on academic writing.

  • 3.2 Quality assessment

    Always up-to-date: The guidelines of the international library association IFLA for recognizing "fake news".

    The following criteria may be helpful by assessing the quality of the results of your literature search.
    However, in case of doubt we recommend you to discuss the use of a publication for your thesis with your teacher.
    Documents listed in a database are in general of good quality and a critical quality assessment is especially important for documents / information found in the internet.

    Purpose of publication

    What is the purpose of a publication? Who is the target group of the publication?

    Present new research result, scientific conferences vs. advertising, lobbying
    Experts, research community vs. customers, the general public

    Author / publisher / editor

    Do you know the authors name or is the document published anonymously?
    Who are the authors? What is their profession? What is their acacemic degree?
    What reputation does the publisher / editor have?

    Research insitutes, university, authorities, museums vs. companies

    Date of publication / update

    When was the document published?
    When was the web site updated?


    What kind of literature is referenced in the publication?
    Is there a bibliography?
    What web sites are referred to?

    Peer review

    Is the article published in a peer reviewed journal?

    Peer review is the evaluation of a publication by one or more people of similar competence to the author and constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility.
    To check if a journal is peer reviewed go to: Ulrichsweb: International Periodicals Directory.

    Journal reputation

    What reputation has the journal within the scientific community?

    There are different indicators for a journal's reputation. One of them is the impact factor (IF) that is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to recent articles published in a journal. Check the IF of a journal via the InCites Journal Citation Report.


    The URL can give you an idea of the background of a web site.

    uni-, .edu, .org, .gov, .admin vs. .com

    Besides the formal quality assessment you also have to find out if a publication is relevant to your research question in terms of content. To gain a first impression of a publications content have a look at the abstract, the preface, the introduction and the table of content.

  • 3.3 Access options

    Many catalogues and subject databases only contain the bibliographical references of a publication and do not offer direct online access to the document's full text. In this section we present you the different options you have to get hold of a publication.

    1. Direct access

    Some databases offer direct access to the electronic full text of publications. Full texts are usually available as PDF or HTML file.

    2. Electronic Journals Library

    If the database does not offer access to the full text of the article you need, search the Electronic Journals Library for the journal that published the article. Traffic light colours indicate if full text access is available or not and there is a direct link to the platform offering full text access to the journal.

    3. Web search

    Conduct a search with Google or GoogleScholar to check if the article you need is freely available in the internet.

    4. Research platform swisscovery (library catalogue)

    Search swisscovery for the journal that published the article you are looking for. In many cases it is possible to order and loan the print version of the journal.

    5. Other library catalogues

    If you cannot find the journal needed via swisscovery, ask us for more possible services. Note that you will be charged for the order from libraries that are not part of the SLSP Courier network.

    An international document delivery service that also has to be paid for is Subito.


    Download instructions


    If you have any question about the access to literature ask the FHGR Library.

  • 3.4 Referencing

    If you use ideas and text passages from other authors for your scientific work, it is essential to cite the sources correctly. At the FHGR it is recommended to use the APA style (style of the American Psychological Association) or the German equivalent, the DGPs style (style of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie), which is based on the APA style.

    "Citation Guidelines - A Quick Introduction" by the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons FHGR

    Click here for the guidelines in German.

    - American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington, DC.

    Please note: At the Institute for Photonics and ICT (IPI) it is recommended to use the IEEE style (style of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). Please refer to the guidelines provided by the IPI or the official IEEE guidelines.

  • 3.5 Reference management software

    If you use experiences, findings, assertions or extracts from a text in your paper or thesis that are not your own but from another author you need to reference the sources used correctly in your text and list them in the bibliography (Voss, 2014). It is considered to be theft of intellectual property and attempted fraud if you do not indicate properly the sources used in your paper or thesis. At the FHGR there is a software for the detection of plagiarism available that is applied if there is any suspicion of attempted fraud.

    Reference management software supports the correct referencing of literature by offering the following functions:

    • Save and organize references and documents
    • Automated import of references from databases, library catalogues and web sites
    • Manual entry of references
    • Automated insertion of references in your paper or thesis
    • Automated compilation of a bibliography in your paper or thesis

    The FHGR library offers help for the following software programs:

    Pages: 3
  • 3.6 Literature on academic writing

    Literature on academic writing in the swisscovery library catalogue

    Literature on research methodology in the swisscovery library catalogue