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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Child Development: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (course 201800002): Introduction

Online session Literature review

This Libguide is designed to help you perform a literature review for the course Child Development: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. We will guide you through three steps that you have to take to perform a sound literature search. 

You will be working on the subject you have chosen for your paper.

Prepare a list of five relevant publications on the subject off your paper and describe for each title how and where you have found it. Use at least two different search engines (for instance a general and discipline specific one).


Have you considered using a reference manager?
Good reference management is an enormous help in retracing what you have seen and read. It also helps you to reuse, add annotations to and share your references. A reference manager is a tool that helps you to collect literature and make correct references or even an entire literature list. For extensive information on reference management tools, check the LibGuide Reference Management.

Step 1: Setting up a Systematic Search

In a systematic search, you first split your research questions into elements and write down keywords for each element.

You start with seperate searches for each element and then combine these searches with an AND relationship.

Setting up a Systematic Search.

Step 2: A database for every discipline

General search engines are a great starting point for a search, because they cover every subject. But with discipline specific search engines you might find more relevant publications and they offer more guidance.

A database for every discipline

Step 3: applying the "snowball method"

Once you have found relevant publications, you can use them as a starting point for a new search. For instance:

  • find publications by the same author
  • check the references in the publication
  • find out which research refers back to this publication.

Applying the snowball method.

grey literature

There are also many non-peer reviewed sources available, so-called grey literature (e.g. reports, statistics, policy papers and more).
You can use these sources as additional material, next to your scientific articles, for example to stress the urgency of a research question.