1. Onderzoeksvraag2. Zoektermen – 3. Informatiebronnen – 4. Zoeken – 5. Selecteren van informatie – 6. Verwerken van bronnen

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Improve search results? Too few search results?

If the result of your search is too limited, this may be due to several reasons.


Did you choose the right source?

  • Use another database if necessary, Could it be your search question?
  • Check your search question and adjust it if necessary
  • Reconsider your question
  • Check whether all components are necessary
  • It may also be the case that little, or no information exists about your subject and that you have to choose another subject
  • Use other or less specific search terms
  • Check your search terms, e.g., have you translated your terms correctly?
  • In a subject-specific database you have to use more specific search terms than in a general database.
  • Watch out! By using less specific search terms, the number of hits will be higher, but the proportion of relevant hits may be lower
  • Specify fewer limits o Articles from the last two years are perhaps most suitable, but perhaps a lot was published about your topic in the years before that. o Do not limit yourself to publications in one language alone. Many articles are published in English.

Too many search results?

If you find too much non-relevant information, there are several possibilities to adjust your search:

  • Using more precise search terms
  • Choosing a specific search input, for example searching by Author
  • Searching with Exact phrase
  • Restrict your search to certain publication types or by publication date
  • Add a search term

By limiting the number of hits, the proportion of relevant hits is higher.

Example: Searching on keyword instead of all words

  • A search in the NHL Stenden catalogue with the word apple returns 43 hits. The word apple appears:
  • As a title word (“De Appel: performances, installations, video, projects, 1975-1983”)
  • As a name of the author (“Geertje Appel”)
  • Keyword person (“Karel Appel”)

If you limit your search to the keyword person “appel”, you only get 3 hits.