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Bibliographic Research Skills

Build an effective reasearch strategy and discover the best ways to find and evaluate resources for your work.

Begin your research

We suggest starting from SearchLib, especially if you are in a preliminary stage of finding information. Searching on the web can become more effective when your ideas are clearer and you have deepened your knowledge of the subject matter.




Here are some good reasons to start with the Library:

  • Extensive and varied collections, both online and in print
  • Quality information and data, because they are:
    • Authoritative (the authors are experts on the subject matter)
    • Accurate (reliable and correct)
    • Up-to-date (the most recent studies in the various disciplines)
    • Relevant (pertinent to the subject areas of the University)
  • The time you spend searching is optimized because the resources are selected by experts, for example they may have been recommended by your professor, and are relevant to academic studies. Remember that when you search on Google you also need to select the appropriate information (and this is not always easy!)

  • Research tools (discovery tool and databases) that allow you to quickly retrieve and process data and information, perform statistical analysis or comparisons between companies, save what you find, and much more

  • 24/7 access to most online resources from wherever you are 

  • Librarians who can help you with your research or to whom you can simply ask for advice (also online via Teams or Zoom ... Ask a librarian!)

In order for your bibliographic search to be as comprehensive as possible, make sure that it includes a wide range of sources (for example, don't search only for articles published in a particular journal or by a specific publisher).

Use SearchLib to begin exploring the topic, and then go deeper by using specialized academic databases from our A-Z Database List.

Start your search by defining keywords. Here's how:

1. Clarify the aspects of your research topic that you want to examine, for example by limiting your investigation to:

  • subject/discipline area (WHAT?) 
  • geographical area (WHERE?) 
  • time period (WHEN?) 
  • social group (WHO?) 
  • strategic aspect (HOW?) 
  • and so on 

2. Determine the time frame of the publications to search: more recent (last 2, 5 years...), or further back in time?

3. Identify keywords:

  • Summarize your research problem in one sentence
  • Identify the fundamental concepts that describe it
  • Turn concepts into keywords to be searched 

Identifying keywords is an important stage: the more relevant these keywords are, the more targeted and accurate your search results will be. It is not the number of results that matters, but the quality.  

Please remember:

  • Preferably use English terms, as it is the main language of academic publications 
  • Think of possible synonyms or related words (more general or more specific concepts) because they help creating search alternatives: if you find few or no results with a keyword, try searching with similar words

4. Combine the words with each other, by performing multiple searches with different combinations of words. 

Here are some examples: 
Example 1 - Female Succession in the Italian Wine Industry

Key concepts: succession + women + wine industry + Italy  
Possible keywords = key concepts = similar or related concepts


Example 2Inter-organizational relations: the evolution of Amazon's distribution chain in the last 5 years  
Key concepts: Inter-organizational relations + supply chain + Amazon + last 5 years
Possible keywords = key concepts = similar or related concepts