YLI-65100 Finding and using literature for your MSc thesis


Credits 1.50

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. LM Kamminga
Lecturer(s)dr. LM Kamminga
drs. AMP Kersten
ir. N Zijlstra
MJ van Harmelen
Examiner(s)dr. LM Kamminga

Language of instruction:



The course “Finding and using literature for your MSc thesis” gives you a head start on writing your MSc thesis, and is an excellent preparation for other research projects during your study and future professional life. You will learn to develop strategies in finding useful and relevant literature and data for your MSc thesis without getting lost and loosing too much time. You will learn how to evaluate the found information critically, how to cite sources correctly and how to avoid plagiarism and copyright infringement. During practical classes and by studying interactive e-learning modules you get theoretical background knowledge. The course also includes a short instruction on how to use EndNote as a citation tool. You will practice searching, evaluating and referencing sources on a given topic or on your own MSc thesis topic in in-class assignments and the final search assignment.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- identify the information need and information sources for a defined task;
- formulate a focused research question, and a strategy to prepare a systematic search;
- construct a systematic search for various databases and platforms, and use relevant articles to find additional information;
- evaluate the search results, revise the search if necessary, and determine when to stop searching;
- store and organise information systematically and transparent;
- cite and reference correctly, avoiding plagiarism and copyright infringements;
- describe the process of academic publishing.


For this course you have to attend three practical classes, study interactive e-learning modules (self-study), and do several assignments. The first and the second class start with an exploratory test on the e-learning modules. After that you will practice what you have learned in in-class assignments. An important activity in the course consists of giving and receiving (peer) feedback on these assignments. During the last class, you will reflect on what you have learned from the earlier classes and the assignments. The course ends with an assessment in the form of a final search assignment.


Your skills in formulating a focused research question, finding information in a systematic way, evaluating search results, improving your search, and creating a reference list are tested via a final search assignment on the topic of your MSc thesis or other research project. The final search assignment is graded using a rubric. You pass if your grade is 5.5 or higher and if all of the in-class assignments are submitted and made with sufficient effort. In-class assignments that are not submitted in time or that are insufficient have to be redone on a new topic.


All course materials are available on Brightspace.