Information seeking

How to get the most out of your information searches for your assignment/project.

Five steps for information seeking

Here are five key steps:

Step 1: Identify the key concepts in the problem you want to investigate

  • Which words and phrases will be relevant to proceed with?
  • Clarify your concepts with your teacher or supervisor.
  • Create an overview of words and phrases.

Step 2: Define your search terms

  • Get inspiration for keywords: Make use of handbooks, dictionaries, subject lists, subject literature
  • Make a list of keywords based on your research question
  • Find all potential synonyms - both in Danish and English!

Step 3: Find relevant sources

  • Check your subject guide
    The subject guides on library.au.dk cover the degree programs that are taught at AU.
    Each subject guide consists of selected resources for the different subject areas
  • Use our resources page
  • Search for more resources in the database list

Step 4: Think about and construct your search for each source

- query language and search facilities can vary for different sources

  • Use our search tips
  • Check out Studypedia - here you can find more guidelines for information searches, literature searches and the academic writing process.

Step 5: Evaluate your search result

  • Adjust and perform another search
  • Don't forget that information seeking and literature search for your assignment is an iterative process, which is to say that you adapt and repeat searches as you gain new knowledge and a better insight into the problem

Good advice

  1. Do not avoid your information search tasks, set aside some time for this as a part of the writing process.
  2. Use your lecturer, supervisor or librarian for help and clarification.
  3. Please be targeted and systematic - make a search strategy.
  4. Search in different ways for different purposes: For inspiration, for facts, for documentation or for perspective-setting.
  5. Always remember to state your sources.
  6. Always check your academic rules and regulations for special requirements when handling sources.
  7. Be consistent in your source references: Write them in the same way every time
  8. Take a critical approach to your sources: Always assess the credibility and usefulness 

Read more

  • Guide to information seeking (in Danish). Help in preparing, carrying out and documenting information searches. A document created by AU Library, Katrinebjerg.
  • AU StudypediaA study tool you can use when writing assignments, making literature searches and other study-related issues.
  • Academic Information Seeking - an online course that includes tuition in search strategies, evaluation and the documentation of your search results.