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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Training finding and handling scholarly information for GEO4-2519: 1. Intro

consultancy project

Training finding & handling scholarly information for GEO4-2519

In this training in the course GEO4-2519 on Consultancy Projects you will learn how to search and use scholarly sources systematically and responsibly. You will also learn to evaluate sources and cite them using the RefWorks tool or Mendeley. The training consists of the lecture by Jeroen Bosman and this hands on session. Before you start, make sure to read the guidelines.

Guidelines for this hands on session

This training takes 2-3 hours to complete. It is wise to read the explanatory texts on the right of each page before carrying out the assignments on the left. When in doubt please ask for assistance.

This session consists of 6 parts, each on its own numbered page. The left column has the asignments in green topped boxes. The information on the right povides background and explanation.

N.B: part 4 has a main page and 6 subpages for each of the types of information you will be searching for.

This training is largely about learning to search systematically. Please read below on what makes a good search strategy.

At the end, please provide feedback on page 7 so that we can further improve this training.


Search strategy: what, where, how?

You search strategy defines what you search, where you search and how you perform your search. In the course of your search process you take many decisions that affect the quality of search results and the time needed to get those results.

The main decisions in your search strategy relate to:

  1. What: in advance think through what information you really need: subject, type of information (analysis, news, statistics, opinion, overview etc.), level and recency. The exact terms you are going to use in your search are of crucial importance.
  2. Where: What you are looking for determines where you should go to find it: unfortunately there is not one search engine or database that has it all.
  3. How: There are various methods of searching. The systematic/bibliographic method (using search terms in scholarly databases) and the snow ball method (finding new information related to what you already have) are the most important. The exact application of these methodes depends on the options available in the database or search engine.

The special LibGuide search strategy (in Dutch) has more on building succesful search strategies.

The university library is online, but it is building as well!

architectural impression of Utrecht University Library in The Uithof campusNowadays you can do online research, with many thousands of online journals and books made available by the library. But not everything is online! Some stuff still is only available in hardcopy. For that and more please visit the University Library Uithof, with:

  • Study places, with and without computers and with wifi throughout the building
  • Print books and journals in Geoscience on the second floor, a.o.:
    • collection G-GE: geography, including planning and development studies
    • collection G-MI: environmental studies
    • collection G-TS: print journals, arranged A-Z
    • tens of newsletters
  • Print books and journals in Social Science on the third floor, a.o.:
    • collection S-CA: anthropology
    • collection S-SO: sociology
  • Maps and atlases in the map room on the sixth floor
  • Lounge area on the bridge to the Van Unnik building
  • Newspapers and general interest magazines on the first floor
  • Study cabins and group facilities
  • Face to face support (ask a librarian) on the first floor

The University Library City Centre houses among others the printed books in economics, history and law.