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Library Guide Science: Literature search

Help with searching, finding, and (re)use of appropriate scientific literature for the Faculty of Science students

Literature search step by step

A literature review is an iterative process, which you control yourself. You can execute several steps to make sure that you have performed a thorough literature review. These steps are described in this LibGuide Literature Search.

Questions? Stuck? We are happy to help you! Follow a workshop or contact us:
 024-3652567  |    infobfac@ubn.ru.nl  

  For students

Whether you are just starting your thesis or busy collecting the final articles, the workshops organised by the Library of Science can support you. We also offer individual help.

Prefer studying in your own time? Several modules are offered on our e-learning page,  so you can learn about literature searches at your own pace and in your own time.

Block Search Builder


The Block Search Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. You should be able to cut and paste the resulting string into most databases’ search boxes.

This builder is part of the LibGuide Literature Search in which all steps for finding scientific literature are described.

Name your core concepts (1,2 and 3) in the upper row, and your alternate terms for each concept in the rows below.

Clicking the 'create-button' will combine all terms into a proper search query/string.

Concept 1   Concept 2   Concept 3
AND AND
Alternate search terms Alternate search terms Alternate search terms

OR

OR

OR

OR

OR

OR

OR

OR

OR

Now copy and paste the above search string into a database search box.

The 'Search Strategy Builder' was developed by the University of Arizona Libraries(CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).

  For researchers

Information specialists of the Library of Science are happy to help you develop a literature search or systematic review. More information on this page.

No systemetic review but need help? No problem, contact us!
 024-3652567  |    infobfac@ubn.ru.nl  

Search terms & techniques

When performing an extensive literature search, don’t only look to the key terms of your research question or topic.

Also bear in mind the following terms:

  • synonym
  • antonym
  • jargon
  • abbreviation
  • language variant

To find alternative search terms:

  • Use a thesaurus to identify synonyms.
  • Search for your topic on a search engine, scanning the results for alternative words and phrases.