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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Training ISS premaster Academic Skills: Reports and government information

Searching for reports

The role of reports in science

Reports from government organizations, think tanks and stakeholders can be an important source of information in scientific research. Reports include:

  • objectives of civil society organizations
  • policy evaluations
  • impact reports
  • political and ethical interpretations of scientific progress
  • results of surveys

Always be careful with information from reports, because they are often written with the objectives of the issuing or paying agency in mind.

Searching for reports

  • If you only know a topic: use web search engines such as Google or Bing and add a PDF filter to your search terms: filetype: PDF
  • If you already know the organization you are looking for, the website of that organization is the first place to start your search.
  • If you already know the organization you are looking for, but that website is unclear, use web search engines (Google) and enter the domain of the specific organization (eg site: un.org). You can also limit to PDF file format. Example: refugees syria site: unhcr.org filetype: PDF
  • Another possibility is searching in WorldCat. Many important reports have also been 'officially' published and included in libraries and through that way included in this integrated national and global catalog.

(Dutch) Government information

The Overheid.nl website provides access to all information from government organizations in the Netherlands, both regionally and nationally.

The Rijksoverheid.nl website is the joint website of the 11 ministries. Ministries are involved, among other things, with legislative proposals, rules and policy plans in a diverse set of topics. You can also find information about the Dutch administration on Rijksoverheid.nl.

The Netherlands Institute for Social Research

The Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) is a government agency which conducts research into the social aspects of all areas of government policy. The main fields studied are health, welfare, social security, the labour market and education, with a particular focus on the interfaces between these fields. The reports published by SCP are widely used by government, civil servants, local authorities and academics

The SCP works primarily from a social science perspective and pays particular attention to the relationship between government and citizens.

The reports are freely available on the internet. They generally contain many figures and are therefore useful for describing a situation or problem and for demonstrating a development or trend.

You can search in different ways:

  • On the home page via Search publication in the top search bar.
  • Click on Publications in the menu bar. You get a choice of (and explanation about) a number of ways to get an overview of (all, recent, upcoming) available SCP publications. 

Note: titles of books and reports are often more general than the individual subjects that appear in these publications. For example: reports on Youth in the Netherlands can contain information about about youth crime, labour market or education.

OECD reports

OECD reports: the university library has a subscription to large parts of the OECD iLibrary with thousands of reports on, among other things: development, education, economy, employment, governance, social issues / migration / health, urban / rural and regional development and science and technology.

You can also search for information from a specific country.