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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Training ISS premaster Academic Skills: Books, reports, newspapers, statistics

Searching for books

A book is often an in-depth, scientific study on a certain subject. Such a monograph often contains overviews and theory and is the result of years of research. It is very suitable as the first entry for a certain topic, but does not always contain the latest research findings or nuance of the scientific discussion (as opposed to a scientific article).

Books can be found at several databases, for example:

(for print books)  search Utrecht University on WorldCat  for the Utrecht University Library collection, the collection of all Dutch libraries and many other international libraries; limit your search to 'gedrukte boeken/print books'

(for online or e books) search Utrecht University on WorldCat for the Utrecht University Library collection (limit your search to e-book and Utrecht University Library)*, several Digital databases that contain e-books at the Utrecht University Library, ScopusGoogle BooksEuropeanaInternet Archive, Project GutenbergHathi Trust

For more information see our libguide Search strategy.

In Worldcat you will probably also find books from other library collections. You will have no access to these e-books. You can request print books from other libraries via WorldCat (but you have to pay for this service). 

Searching for newspaper articles

Newspaper articles can be found in for example:

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: You can also limit to PDF file format. Example: refugees syria site: 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 website provides access to all information from government organizations in the Netherlands, both regionally and nationally.

The 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

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.

Publications, figures and data from the CBS (Statistics Netherlands)

You need numbers to be able to say how big a problem is and what its characteristics are. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and SCP are rich sources for data about the extent of a problem and the trends therein.

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) collects a lot of data on various topics. A large part of that information is made freely available through various media. One way is through publications. The advantage of this is that the data is put into context and the interpretations and conclusions are drawn by experts.

Another form in which the CBS material is made available is StatLine, the CBS database. In StatLine you will find statistical information in the form of tables, texts and graphs. StatLine contains statistics on many social and economic topics. This information can be useful when answering trend questions.


We are looking for figures in CBS publications:

  • Go to the CBS website
  • From here you can use the search option (magnifying glass) to search for publications, but if you go through the site step by step you will often find different results. We are looking for a publication about "crime and law enforcement":
    • On the homepage in the menu bar you can choose [Labour and income] [economy] [society] [regional] [corporate]
    • Choose Society
    • Choose Security and justice
    • Scroll down the page, at the bottom you will find the CBS publications.

Searching StatLine

There are two search options in StatLine:

  1. you can search by search terms in the search box (top right corner). Pay attention to the date of the last change of the tables you found (in the right-hand column): you can also find tables that are no longer updated.
  2. browse by theme. The information in StatLine is subdivided into a number of themes; these are again subdivided into sub-themes.

StatLine has a Help page with user manuals and (Dutch) demo video's.


  • Go to StatLine
  • Use the search option and type: youth

You will see a list of results (since most of the statistics are in Dutch the list with results in English will be much shorter) that you can filter by theme, division or year.
Take note: The CBS often uses different concepts in order to describe a phenomenon, for example  do not search on youth only, but also on children or young people.

Select a table based on the description (theme, year, keywords, changed on, reference period) and see if this contains relevant information for your subject. (if you wish to know more about the statistics or want to download the table make use of the icons in the top right corner).


If you are looking for statistics outside the Netherlands, but inside the EU you can search Eurostat.

'Eurostat offers a whole range of important and interesting data that governments, businesses, the education sector, journalists and the public can use for their work and daily life.'

'Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union situated in Luxembourg. Its mission is to provide high quality statistics for Europe. [...] Providing the European Union with statistics at European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions is a key task. [...] Statistics can answer many questions. Is society heading in the direction promised by politicians? Is unemployment up or down?  How many women go to work? How is your country's economy performing compared to other EU Member States?

You can search per theme or with (alphabetical arranged) keywords.