Structure and optimize your information search. Get tips and tricks on how to find literature and how to structure your search and save time.
Guide to finding your literature
Optimize your literature search. Use this guide to find student theses, books and articles: - a guide on finding them, and help on how to structure your search process = saving time
- Vocabulary is key (use words that the author would use)
If you only search with the words you just have in your head right here and right now, you can very well risk getting some very one-sided results. Find more words for the same concept to get new angles on the topic and perhaps get to a more academic level. Look through the table of contents and see what technical terms the author.
- Search matrix (document your information search)
Now you have a large vocabulary - what to do with that?
Write the words down - because searching is a process over time and most often in several search tools. Make it a habit to write the words down because you cannot remember them tomorrow .. even if you think you can! The search matrix is a simple way to keep track of your words. First, write down your problem. What key concepts can you find? Write them down. Enter synonyms, alternatives, related terms. If a keyword leads you astray - leave it at that!
- Be source critical
Sender - Does the author (who can be an individual or an organization) have the professional background that makes the source worthwhile? private person, professional or academic organization, company?
Motivation - What is the purpose? Knowledge sharing / information or ‘sales’ of service, product, attitude?
Age - how old is the source - and does age matter to your topic?
Relevance - is it the most suitable source for your topic and is the academic level high enough?
Argumentation - are the arguments in the source substantiated, or are they postulates?
- Find both pros and cons
It is important that you find sources that speak FOR your theory and sources that go in a different direction. Nothing can stand alone and to illuminate a given theory; as to describe a topic, you need to find what speaks FOR your theory / your argumentation - but also what speaks against. So Pros and cons.
More (and different kinds of) videos:
Vocabulary: Scholarly books (versus a practical bop: https://youtu.be/S3oGL4G_siw (By McMaster Libraries)
Vocabulary: How do you use a book to find related sources (AND a vocabulary)? https://youtu.be/So8jAJdF26I (By BAAA library)
Vocabulary: Using the subject term lists in EBSCO: https://youtu.be/K56OPY3sbJ8 (By EBSCO)
Search matrix: If you don't like that method, then perhaps you can use the mind map approach: How to choose keywords https://youtu.be/BoujP8KoK7E (By McMaster Libraries)
The video also touches on what relevant subject terms are.
Source criticism: How to evaluate sources (the CRAAP test) https://youtu.be/_M1-aMCJHFg (by McMaster Libraries)
Market information sources
Quantification of products in the danish market (youtube)
- Product classification codes (the Combined Nomenclature, click on “Codes and description”)
- The CN search engine helps you find the right codes
Quantification of products in the European market
- Product classification codes (the classificationsystem PRODCOM; best strategy is to look for the topic in the heading and then unold the hierarchy)
- The search engine helps you find the right codes (it shows ALL classification schemes, look for PRODCOM)
I cannot find any data – what to do?
- When the data you find is inadequate please read this guide (pdf). The guide is written in collaboration with Tine Frandsen, lecturer at Business Academy Aarhus.
NOTE: if you are an intern or doing your final project for a company, a project budget could be an option.
We have collected the issues you need to pay attention to, when managing sources:
- Source critisism
- The Harvard standard
- Reference management tools
- Personal data
- What is plagiarism and how do you avoid it?
Using the 'Stop Plagiarism' you'll learn to manage sources correctly. Includes short quizzes.
- When finding the right sources, it is important to use source criticism. Follow these steps: 1) at what level is the source written? is it academic or practical or is it just below an academic level?, 2) who wrote it? who is the sender? a private person, an organiation or a company? and 3) what is the motivation?, is it for knowledge sharing or is someone trying to sell you something? The Craap test (youtube) is an easy way to find the currency, relevance, authority, accuracy and purpose.
The Harvard Standard
- The local guide (pdf)
The library at Business Academy Aarhus have made a guide for the basics of source management including of course the Harvard standard. It has a compiled list of examples on the what, why and how sources should look when entered as references or listed in the literature list.
Reference Management tools
- This reference tool, Zotero, is a free and fantastic tool, that saves you some typing.
- Download our 'Get started with' guide and eliminate common issues (pptx)
- Search Zotero's support (very thorough)
- In 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come into force. GDPR has an impact on how you manage personal data in your study projects. Learn more using the guide How to handle personal data in your projects (pdf)
What do YOU get from an academic article?
Academic articles deal with topics at a higher academic level than newspaper articles. The world is described based on scientific research and data collection - eg. a study of which business models works best for sharing economy enterprises.
The research is more in-depth than if it were researched by a media company - and is a valid basis for your own empirical data (your field work). Academic articles are difficult to read - learn “how to read an academic article” via the video link video at the bottom of the page.
Where can you find academic articles?
Business Academy Aarhus subscribes to the article database EBSCO Business Source Complete and links to several other professionally oriented article databases (learn more in the menu 'E-resources') where you can search for and download research articles.
Academic articles often cost money to read.
Business Academy Aarhus has purchased a license for the EBSCO Business Source Complete article database and links to several other professionally oriented article databases (find them in the 'E-resources' menu) where you can search for and download research articles.
Google's little brother, Google Scholar, links to material from publishers and educational institutions - e.g. books, undergraduate projects and academic articles.
Unfortunately, there is not always free and full access to all texts (this can also happen with EBSCO and other specialized databases), and then what?
You may find articles by copying the title (remember to put the title in "quotation marks") and search Google. Not Google Scholar, just Google. Remember to also check if Academia can be accessed; free access, if you create a profile.
A lot of research papers are published under an Open Access license, meaning they are free (for the reader). The easiest way to find a legal article in full text is to install the browser extension 'Unpaywall': https://unpaywall.org/products/extension.
Link to a title - if it's free somewhere, Unpaywall shows a green open padlock to the right. Click to download.
If there is no free article, the padlock is grey.
If the padlock is grey - contact the library at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'll see what we can do.
How do you read an academic article?
It's not the same as a textbook, or a novel - to be efficient, you'll need to read it in a specific way. How to read efficiently see short video below:
- Video tutorial (8 mns)