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Information Literacy Course International Relations: Introduction


In this section you will find information about search methods and search techniques. We will explain two methods that make use of the reference lists that are included in scholarly work: the 'snowball method' and 'citation searching'.

A different approach to finding literature is to use "search terms" to find literature about your topic. Some search systems offer standardized terminology which you can use in your search. Others don't have this and have to be searched by keywords.

Each catalog, database or search engine has its own search interface. These search interfaces differ in their details, but they have a lot in common. Most systems have an advanced search option where you can restrict your search to specific fields. It is common that search terms can be combined with AND, OR and NOT. Most systems offer the possibility to filter on type of literature (books or articles). Most systems offer truncation/masking to find different spellings and offer the option to search for exact phrases to get more precise results.

Learning outcomes

After studying this chapter you will be able to search efficiently and effectively.

You will be able to decide which of the various search methods is best for your research, and which search techniques will produce the best results.

You will learn to focus your searches, and this will save you time.