Finding information effectively and efficiently

Level 2 teaches you how to structure a search for the information you need to write a paper, for example. You will learn the following:

  • how to construct a search strategy using the aspects defined in level 1
  • how to perform a smart search using the information sources available at TU Delft Library

Determining search terms

Now it is time to do an actual search! In level 1 you divided the search topic into its different aspects. What’s next? Are you going to use Google and type in all the aspects, like you probably do every day? What will you do with all the search results? Are you going to study them all? No, there is a smarter way!

Exercise 1

  1. Plug in your earphones or turn down the volume and watch the clip ‘Web Search Strategies Explained in Plain English‘ by Commoncraft about smart searching on the web.
  2. Searching the web is very similar to searching other information sources such as Worldcat Discovery. Doing the following exercise will teach you how to apply the aspects of your search topic in a smart search. Complete the exercise on how to find suitable search terms matching the aspects of the search topic.

Determining search strategy

Now you are going to convert the synonyms you have found into a smart search strategy. You have to use search operators to use all the synonyms properly.

Exercise 2

  1. Study the TUlib module Search operators.
  2. If you want to perform a smart search, you must combine your search terms. Complete this exercise on combining search terms with Boolean operators.

Towards information sources

Now you have formulated a search strategy, which you will use to search the various information sources. But where to start? How do you choose which information source you want to use? This table gives an overview of the differences between Worldcat Discovery, Scopus and Google Scholar and helps you determine when to use each one.

Exercise 3

  1. Watch the first two sections (“Basic searching” and “Retrieving documents”) of this video about searching in WorldCat Discovery (which includes the TU Delft Library catalogue).
  2. Watch this video with an example of a search strategy carried out in article database Scopus.
  3. Complete the exercise on carrying out your search strategy in various information sources.

Now you have learned how to convert the aspects of your search topic into a search strategy and how to apply this strategy in a number of information sources.

You can find other relevant information sources for your subject area in the “Useful links” overview in the section “What’s next”.

Continue to Level 3

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