SEARCHING FOR INFORMATION FOR A MASTER’S THESIS
1. Analysis of the information search task
- What does this task involve?
- What kind of information do I need (research articles, textbooks, news, company information...)?
- From what period, geographical region, etc., do I need information?
2. Central concepts
- What are the central concepts related to my topic?
- What are the secondary concepts?
- A mind map offers an excellent tool for understanding a more extensive topic. It is worth trying!
3. Search words
- Depending on the information you need, you can decide whether to use more general concepts or clearly defined search terms.
- When planning your search, consider similar terms, synonyms and search words in different languages for different databases.
- Spelling varies particularly between American and British English.
- In most cases, the search words should be truncated. Truncation marks can be found in the databases’ help sections.
- In the search results, you can find new search terms and important researchers or journals in the field, which you can use in further searches.
4. Choosing your information sources
- More information on the selection of information sources is available on the LUT Academic Library website.
5. Combining search words
- Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT
- proximity operators
- Example: financial AND planning (both words appear in this order)
- Example: financial W/3 planning (no more than 3 words separate the search words)
- phrases are usually put in quotation marks
6. Assessing the search result
- Both the quantity and quality (accuracy) of the results is assessed.
- When necessary, the search can then be either limited or expanded.
7. Editing your search
Limiting your search
- You can define where the search term must appear, e.g., title, keywords, etc.
- The search can be restricted by using more than one search term combined with the Boolean operator AND.
- You can also use phrases or proximity operators in your search.
- The results can be limited to certain years or publication languages.
- A larger section of the search term can be used, i.e., the word is not truncated too early. The truncation mark is moved right.
- A word is excluded from the results with the operator NOT.
Expanding your search
- Here, you remove restrictions limiting the search to certain parts of the article to view results where the search term appears anywhere in the article.
- The words are truncated earlier to give results with more inflected forms of the word
- Phrases can be replaced by combining words with AND.
- Synonyms can be used.
8. Return to step 3 until the result is satisfactory
Further information: the LUT Academic Library website in the section for researchers.
LUT Academic Library is located on Skinnarila Campus in the first LUT building where it has facilities on three floors. Further information on the services and opening hours is available on the library’s website.