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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Training Master Youth Studies: Step 3: Searching and finding

Activity: Searching and finding

Select a number of search systems which are useful for your search action. Search for suitable sources.

List of available databases at Utrecht University.

Use the information in the adjacent boxes to make a choice.

In the search engines use the search strategy you set up in step 2 to find useful sources.

Screen your results based on title and abstract on relevant content in regard to your (sub) questions

Use the information in the boxes on this page.

Online access via Lean Library

The Lean Library browser extension offers access to a large number of digital scientific sources, whether you are on campus or off-campus.

Every time you visit a website with publications licensed by Utrecht University Library, you are asked to log in. Next you will have direct access. Using the extension also gives you automatically access to Google Scholar and PubMed including UBUlink.

If you come across a publication which may not be available, Lean Library will try to find an open access version for you.

You download the extension once, select your institution and log in with your Solis ID or UMCU-account and password.

Want to know more? Visit the Online Access via Lean Library page of the Utrecht University Library.
Want to know more about all options to access digital publications? Visit our Online Access page.

Too many results: What to do?

If you get too many results to view/use you could: 

  • Search more specifically by using more specific search terms
  • Add an extra aspect to your search (with AND)
  • Limit your search to certain years of publication
  • Change the sorting order: sort by relevance but also try year of publication or, if possible, the number of citations
  • Change to a different (subject related) database that better fits your topic


ISW search engines

See from which angle you approach your problem and then look for search systems that match. Preferably use more than one database (and not just Google Scholar). Check in advance the content and options of the database.

The Utrecht University Library offers an overview and access to multiple search engines. There is also a list of databases per discipline. Read the short descriptions and choose the database that best matches your search query.

A selection of other search engines

  • Scopus contains abstracts of scientific articles and book chapters in all disciplines. It also contains references from and citations to articles. It also offers user friendly filter options to limit your search results
  •  Web of Science is also a scientific database, but smaller than Scopus. It contains fewer journals in the field of social sciences.
  •  Sociological Abstracts provides bibliographic information in the field of sociology. Also includes the subjects of social psychology, methodology, sociology of art, political science, gender studies, environmental issues.
  • APA PsycInfo covers the whole field of psychology and behavioural science of man and animal. It also offers information on language and communication, culture and society, psychochemistry and statistics. It contains summaries of journal articles, but also books and book chapters.
  • ERIC is a database in the filed of education. NB there is also a ffreely available version of ERIC and there is the version of ERIC that we offer via Ovid. This last version has more search options and contains the UBUlink to the digital publications that we give access to at the UU library.

  • PubMed includes literature in the field of (bio)medical sciences, but also behavioural sciences (PubMed also has a version without the UBUlink, so pay attention which version you use)

  •  For the complete list of All search engines visit the library website

Where to find the full text?
 In this (and several other) search engines  you will see the UBUlink-klein  next to the results. It tells you if the publication is available in the university library, online or on paper (books especially).

  • WorldCat UU is a catalogue where you can search for literature on a global, national and Utrecht University Library level. You will find the Utrecht University Library collection in WorldCat, together with material from thousands of other libraries and publishers worldwide.;
  • Google Scholar with UBUlink is useful if you are looking for a well-known article, but less so if you search by subject. As a rule, you get large numbers of (often less relevant or reliable) hits and there are no good filter options.

In Google Scholar you don't see a button but a text link: Fulltext@UBUlink.

Please note: Go to all these search engines through the homepage of the library ( and click on the button Search engines. On the next page click on the yellow button Search engines by discipline > Social and Behavioural Sciences.

You will find more on where to find sources in the LibGuide Search Strategy.

Too few results: what to do?

If you do not get enough results, you could:

  • Check your spelling
  • Use less specialist terms
  • Broaden your search by adding alternatives for your search terms in an OR relationship (for instance segregation OR discrimination)
  • Broaden your search by including word varieties: either in an OR relation (for instance: segregation OR segregated) or by truncating your search terms, if allowed by the search engine (for instance: segregat*);
  • Broaden your search by leaving out an aspect/variable
  • Adjust/accentuate your search terms by using the provided keywords and/or thesaurus of a specific search engine/database 
  • Use other search engines and databases

How to determine the relevance of sources?

In determining if a source is relevant, you may try to answer the following questions:

  1. Does the source help you to answer your main questions and sub-questions?
  2. Does the source answer your whole question/sub-question or only one aspect?
  3. To what extent does the main question of the source you found match with your own questions?
  4. How strong are the similarities between the research object or the analysis unit in the source you found and those in your own paper/thesis? The research object may be a period, or a person, a group, an area, a substance, a disease, a process etc.
  5. Is the context of the research object the same as in your case?
  6. When was the source published and when was the research that was written about executed?

Think that you will rarely find a source that provides a complete answer to your main questions and sub-questions and that gives a report of the exact same research or problem you are working on. 

Need to see the full text of an article? The next page is about how to get to the full text.

Open Access search engines

Open AccessOpen Access articles are freely available. Below you will find a list of search engines containing only or mainly Open Access material

If you want to find out what journals are Open Access you can check the Directory of Open Access Journals
And use the Lean Library extension, it will tell you if an open access version of the article is available.