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Search support - Courses

The ZHAW University Library offers search support by providing materials, discipline-specific information, consulting and courses.

Search tips

Here you will find general advice on search strategies. If you are looking for specific tips on databases related to your area, please consult the discipline-specific information.

Structuring a search

A well-structured search basically consists of preparation, execution and repetition.

The preparation phase, however, is particularly important. By preparing a search well, you should be able to avoid frustration in the execution phase and obtain the results you require faster.

Since a search is an iterative process, the terms you discover become increasingly relevant and lead to more and more successful results.

Tips for efficient research

Formulate your research question(s) in writing.
This will help to ensure that you don’t get bogged down during your search.

Make sure you know what information you require.
What information do you require from which time period?
What publication types could be useful and where can you find them?

Get an overview by conducting an initial search.
Find basic information and get to know the specialist terminology.

Search using the snowball method or adopt a systematic approach.
Analyse your topic and compile a list of search terms.
Make your search query more precise with the help of different search techniques.
Document your search.

Find more input on search in our blog post “Recherchestrategien für die Projekt-, Semester-, Seminar- oder Abschlussarbeit” (in German).

Discipline-specific information

Here, you will find an overview of relevant discipline-specific databases, journals, reference works and further literature.

Reference service

  • You need literature on a specific topic and have the feeling that you could improve your search strategies.
  • You have a project topic and don’t know where to begin your search.
  • You’ve discovered a database which would be ideal for your research topic but you’re not sure how to find your way.

Reference service without appointment in the library

Consulting hours

Please note the special consulting hours.

Reference service by appointment (virtual or on site)

Form to request reference service

Consulting hours

Please note the special consulting hours.

Written requests

We respond to written requests within three working days.


Special consulting hours in the University Library

Winterthur Monday, 3 June 2024 to Friday 13 September 2024 Summer consulting hours Reference service Mon to Fri 12 p.m.–2 p.m.
Zurich Thursday, 13 June 2024 Internal event No reference service
Winterthur Thursday, 11 July 2024 Internal event No reference service
Zurich Thursday, 11 July to Thursday, 15 August 2024 Summer break No reference service without appointment
All locations Monday, 22 July to Saturday, 5 August 2023 Summer closing No reference service

Please also note the library opening hours.


In addition to the introductory sessions and more detailed training courses on information competence which students attend as part of their studies, the University Library offers various optional courses.