Are you often stuck searching? There is no denying it - good research takes time! You have probably experienced being overwhelmed by the amount of search results, or perhaps you have not been able to find what you were looking for.

Information seeking is a process of forming a general view, of seeking and evaluating your results. You will need to ask yourself the following questions throughout the process: Am I searching in the right places? Do the results have the right level of knowledge? Can I use Google to find more search terms? What if Google is not enough? Am I critical enough?


How do I get started?

Before you start searching, it is important to have an overview of your subject. In the long run, it pays off to spend some time and energy on systematic preparation. Therefore, it is always a good idea to create a mind map, which will help you break your subject into relevant sub-topics and search terms based on your problem formulation.  As it is difficult to know which words authors use in their texts, you must also remember to find synonyms, technical terms or translations for your subjects.

It is always a good idea to do a chain search, where one good source may lead you to other good, relevant sources. You use the bibliography of the source as a stepping stone to other interesting knowledge. It may also be useful to check other written work by the author of a relevant source. Perhaps they have written many articles or books on the subject in question.

"Draw a mind map: Break your subject into sub-topics"
"Use synonyms: Organic → green → sustainable"
"Translate your search terms: Sustainable → bæredygtig"
"Get inspired by the sources listed in the textbook"

Search engines


It is always a good idea to use Google to familiarise yourself with your subject. But remember that less than 15% of the total information on the Internet is available through Google. The rest is behind pay walls and can only be accessed through licensed databases. As a KEA student, you can gain access to a variety of these through the library web page.

That said, there is an easy way to make your Google searches more efficient through the use of a few search operators. If you are searching for articles or reports, for instance, you can use the search operator filetype:pdf together with your search terms. This way you only get hits in PDF format, which is the format of most articles and reports in Google.

However, if you only want to get hits from a specific company, you can use the search operator site: together with the company's URL. If you type, for instance, you only get hits from DTU (Technical University of Denmark).

Keep in mind that Google mainly provides access to sources at a popular or professional level. If you are looking for scientific articles, you must instead use Google Scholar or scientific article databases.

As Google makes use of cookies and remembers your previous searches, this may have an influence on your search results. Therefore, you should use other search engines like DuckDuckGo or Bing to get the full picture.

"Use Google search operators such as site and filetype to improve your search"
"Use alternatives to Google such as DuckDuckGo or Bing"


How do I do database searches?

Much of the knowledge available through Google and other search engines can only be accessed if you pay for it. It is therefore important that you know about the books and articles you can get access to via KEA Library. All materials can be searched through the library catalogue.

KEA Library also gives you access to a range of digital resources such as statistics, scientific articles, e-books and specialist knowledge within your subject area.

Please note that this type of database search is slightly different from Google searches. If you use advanced search techniques, you will greatly improve your search results, but make sure to spell correctly, as there is no autocorrect in most databases.

Advanced search techniques


Use AND between your search terms when you want hits where both words occur:
Sustainability AND Clothing. This way you are only searching for results that include both sustainability and clothing.


Use OR when you want your search to include many synonyms.
Sustainability OR Ecology. This way your search results will include sources containing both sustainability and ecology, while also including sources where only one of them appears.


Use NOT when you want to exclude special search terms. For instance, Sustainability NOT Recycling. This way, your search includes sustainability, but nothing about recycling.

Phrase search

Use a phrase search when you want to search for an exact sentence or phrase rather than using a set of search terms in random order.

For instance, “Mette Frederiksen”. This way your search includes Mette Frederiksen only, and therefore not everyone called Mette or Frederiksen.


Use truncation with a * if you want to include various endings to your search term. 

For instance, Sustain *. This search will include sustainable, sustainability, sustains, sustained, etc.

"Use the library catalogue to search all of the library's materials (digital and physical)"
"Use databases to search for knowledge at professional and scientific level"
"Use advanced search techniques to improve your search"

Scientific articles

Knowledge at the highest level, thank you very much!
the library search interface

If you want knowledge at the highest level, you need access to scientific articles. KEA Library has access to a large number of scientific articles. When you search the library catalogue, select the peer reviewed filter and you will only get scientific articles.

You may also use the database, where you can order scientific articles home to your local public library. All it takes is that you register as a user with a public library. The database covers the article collections of all Danish university libraries and can be accessed free of charge. (PLEASE NOTE: is temporarily inaccessible).

Finally, you may also use Google Scholar, Google's own scientific search engine. However, you may have to pay to get your hands on the article you are looking for.

Remember that you can always book research guidance at KEA Library. 

"Use “peer reviewed” to find scientific articles in the library catalogue"
"Use Google Scholar and to find scientific articles"

New knowledge

How do I keep up to date?

During your studies, you will, of course, gain knowledge from the curriculum as well as the teaching. But it is also a good idea that you keep well informed about your subject area and the latest know-how. An easy way to do this is by identifying relevant players such as trade associations, trade unions, institutes, educational institutions, individuals, etc.

Use newsletters, RSS feeds, LinkedIn, blogs and websites to integrate professional knowledge in your daily knowledge flow. Keep an eye out for free conferences, webinars, courses etc. and remember to share your knowledge with your fellow students!

"Find the relevant players in your subject area"
"Keep an eye out for new trends"
"Integrate professional knowledge in your knowledge flow"