BACHELOR WORK AND MASTER WORK
To write a scientific paper includes the systematic literature research and the evaluation of existing literature. Literature helps to structure and structure the work and to write the text. With the help of the found and read literature one can build on known knowledge and secure own results argumentatively. Only the comprehensive knowledge of a topic makes it possible to develop new and own solution approaches for a scientific question.
After you have chosen the topic of your seminar paper, bachelor thesis or master thesis and have developed first questions and a rough classification, the next step is a detailed literature search on the topic. This raises the question for many students, how best to proceed. It is important that you visit the main library of the university and the specialized library of your subject. This text explains how you can successfully research which sources are still available and how to evaluate them.
First steps in the literature search
Go from general to specific in your literature research. Begin with manuals and textbooks and then proceed to monographs and essays. So you penetrate deeper into your topic. Be sure to read the recommendations of your supervisor when making a recommendation. At the beginning of a bachelor’s or master’s thesis you should read a lot of literature so that you get a broad overview of your topic. Often it makes sense to read only excerpts from individual works in order to save time. This is especially useful for a term paper for which you have little time available. First, look at the outline. You may notice some bullet points that contain keywords that also appear in your topic.
When selecting literature, look for the publication date. In particular, you prefer new literature in your first literature search. After reading the current literature and thus approaching the current state of research, you can also look at some older works or read classics. You are also welcome to use foreign-language literature, especially if you are able to read English texts quickly. It leaves the supervisor with a good impression, if in the bibliography of your seminar paper, bachelor thesis or master thesis also literature of a foreign language is listed.
Use different databases in the literature search
Much of your literature research will be done through the online catalog of the University Library (OPAC). Enter the relevant search terms here, which you can vary over and over again to get as many results as possible. Use synonyms, synonyms, superscripts, or subheadings in your literature search, or look for keywords found in the titles of monographs and essays.
Online access to the libraries in your area can also be found on Google. Enter the name of the university or the name of the library plus the term “OPAC”.
Make sure that you do not have to switch between databases when searching in OPAC. Often, university libraries separate the main library catalog, one or two library libraries, and a journal database. The search in supra-regional databases and library associations makes sense, because you can procure works here via the so-called inter-library loan. You can also use special databases for the literature search for journal articles or online bibliographies. As a rule, you should be able to access such databases via the homepage of your university library.
In addition to the library’s offer, the Internet offers a number of special scientific search engines, such as Google Scholar or CiteSeer, which you can use as a supplement to the literature search.