Getting ready for your thesis

Finally time to write your thesis! Improve your essay with effective information search, smart reference management and relevant sources. Below is a quick guide if you are at the beginning of your work. Good Luck!

1. From subject to search query

When you have decided what your thesis will be about you have to translate that into a search query that a database might understand.

a) Read the information about formulating a search query and get search tips

b) Watch the screencast below. It describes the process with an example.

c) Formulate your own search query! Use the same process as in the above example!


2. Searching for scientific articles

When looking for a scientific article you can choose for example the SLU University Library search system Primo, or an international reference database. Remember that you might also need other kinds of information for you thesis. Books, reports and so on can often be found through for example library catalogues.

a) For information on reference databases, check out the presentation below!

b) Here you find useful information on how to use the reference database Web of Science. Tutorials are also available for the reference database Scopus

c) Try using your search query in at least two reference databases! On this page we suggest databases that might suit your needs. 

If you are working off campus, get access to databases and e-journals by downloading the VPN client.

3. Evaluating your search results & source criticism

 When you've made a search it is important that you review your results.

a) Read  this manual about evaluation of sources from Umeå University Library

b) Watch the short presentation about Internet and source criticism. You might want to view it in full screen mode.

4. Cheating, plagiarism and copyright

Plagiarism is a growing concern for universities.

a) Read the information on cheating, plagiarism and copyright

What is plagiarism? Watch the presentation below!


b) What are your rights as a copyright holder? What are you allowed to do with other people's work? Watch the presentation on copyright below! You might want to view it in full screen mode.

5. Managing references

a) Read the information here on writing references 

Note the link "reference list according to the Harvard system" where you can find information on how to refer to different kinds of publications!

b) Using a reference management software allows you to collect your references (all the information about the publication) and to insert references directly into your Word document as you're writing it! Visit this page for more information about reference management. If you choose not to use reference management software you can usually save/print/email references from reference databases. 

There are several types of reference management software on the market, for example:

  • Zotero. Zotero is free and integrated into the web browser Mozilla Firefox. You download it from
  • EndNote. SLU has a campus license for EndNote and SLU’s IT support can assist you with the installation of the program on your computer. There is also a free web-based version of EndNote called Endnote Basic. EndNote Basic is an integrated part of database portal Web of Knowledge, which makes it very simple for WOK users to save references in their EndNote library.
Published: 22 June 2016 - Page editor: