How do I search for information for a project? Good examples of how to go about it

Subject:  Multidisciplinary
Person with a laptop looking for information

The O2, the UOC's institutional repository, contains some 10,400 projects by other students.

If you have to do your final project this year, you can take a look at examples of bachelor's or master's degree final projects to find out how other students did them before you. Simply visit the university's institutional repository, O2, and search for projects in the area of your studies.

Here are some examples of open-access final projects that the teaching staff in the UOC's Faculty of Health Sciences believe are of outstanding quality. The authors of all these projects formulated a question, and looked for high-quality information to answer it. Thanks to this bibliographic review, the students were able to draw conclusions based on scientific evidence.

All of them are good examples of how to search for information effectively. The authors describe the sources they searched, their search strategies (using filters, search tips, etc.), the keywords they used, and the criteria they applied when evaluating the results they obtained

You will find taking a look at these examples useful regardless of the subject and format of your final project.

The author of this project saw that there were many widespread beliefs concerning vegetarian and vegan diets, for example that they lead to problems in women's health, such as changes in their menstrual cycle. So, she decided to explore an area that has not been extensively covered in research – the effects of vegan and vegetarian diets on the nutrition and health of adolescent girls – and to do so based on high-quality information. "The general public must have easy and free access to evidence-based documentation on this type of diet", she said, "and the authorities must take them into account and include references to nutritional guides."

Based on her experience, she recommends choosing a motivating topic for the final project, and each individual should answer the following questions: What do I want to know? What do I want to learn? What do I want to communicate? What relationships can I find with other subjects? Another piece of advice she offers is to first research what has been published to date in order to have some 'clues' and to decide how to approach the project. She also believes that "organization, time management and use of resources" are key factors. For this reason, she believes that it is important to "draw up a working plan and list the conditions involved in doing the project (delivery dates, page limit, style guide, resources available, and the minimum number of references)".

This project's author focused on the benefits or harm that energy drinks could have for the health of adolescents and children and their sports performance. As the student explained, this topic particularly interested him as a teacher of physical education in a secondary school, and as a bodybuilding and fitness athlete. 

He searched for information in databases including PubMed, Scopus and EBSCO. When undertaking the project, he recommends "performing an extensive and complete bibliographic search, and comparing various studies in order to have a broad overview of the subject of the project". He also believes it is essential to use "various terms that are in both Spanish and English", since many studies are published in the latter language. Likewise, he recommends evaluating the results carefully, and avoiding documents from dubious sources or with low scientific standards, which may provide erroneous data that undermine the final conclusions

The author of this project wanted to examine the effects of increased protein consumption among people with muscle injuries, to find out if they improve their rehabilitation: "whether they shorten recovery times, prevent the loss of muscle mass or increase muscle strength". He searched the PubMed and Scopus databases to find an answer to his question.

The author advises students who have to start a final project to choose a topic that interests them, and if possible, one that they can apply to their work. He also believes that it is important to define the topic very specifically: "if it's very vague, you'll retrieve a lot of articles and you'll have difficulty finding the ones that are really of interest to you". He said that staying in regular contact with the tutor, not becoming discouraged if an assignment "doesn't turn out the way you expected" and avoiding "leaving everything until the end" are essential for a good final project.

In his project, this student wanted to know how sports performance could be enhanced by consuming natural foods such as beetroot juice, in order to give athletes an alternative to the abusive consumption of industrially produced food supplements. He searched for information in databases such as PubMed, Scielo and CINAHL.

The author stressed the importance of choosing a subject that is sufficiently interesting to stay motivated. He recommended drawing a timeline for using the various search strategies, so that "you don't overlook any results, and you don't forget any aspect of them". He also said that he found the UOC Library useful for consulting information through its search engine and for accessing subscription-based databases. This enabled him to find more articles, and consequently provided more reliable results for his research.

If you are looking for articles, books, journals and other high-quality content to enhance your activities and your final project, the following contents and services will be useful. 

If you have any questions, get in touch with the Library team via The Library Replies service.