Searching and Organising Literature for PhD candidates

Course schedule

Dates Start time End time Coordinator registrations
21 and 22 May 2024
Day 2 ends at 12:30
09:00 17:00 Marijn Blok 15 / 24 Apply
9 and 10 October 2024
Day 2 ends at 12:30
09:00 17:00 Marijn Blok 3 / 24 Apply
26 and 27 November 2024
Day 2 ends at 12:30
09:00 17:00 Marijn Blok 0 / 24 Apply

Course description

This course is offered by Wageningen Graduate Schools and organised by WUR Library.

The course prepares you well for writing a PhD thesis and for other research projects in your future professional life. You will learn to develop comprehensive strategies to find useful and relevant information without getting lost and losing too much time. You will also learn how to evaluate the found information, how to cite sources correctly and avoid plagiarism, and how to manage references with EndNote.

The course runs for 1.5 days and consists of lectures and practical assignments. You will also receive individual instruction and help to develop a balanced search plan. The plan will be useful throughout your PhD.

The course is open to all PhD candidates and postdocs, but the primary target group is beginning PhD candidates who have not previously followed an information literacy course during their studies.

After this course you will be able to:

  • identify your information needs and information sources for your PhD research or another scientific project;
  • formulate a focused research question for a literature search and a strategy to prepare a systematic search;
  • construct a systematic search for various databases and platforms and use relevant articles to find additional information;
  • evaluate the search results, revise the search if necessary, and determine when to stop searching;
  • store and organise information systematically and transparently, keep track of the search process and stay up to date with new information on your topic;
  • cite and reference literature and data correctly to avoid plagiarism.

General Information

Target Group:

The course is set up for WUR PhD candidates and postdocs

Group size:

10-24 participants

Course duration:

Two days



Credit points:

0.6 ECTS

Self-study hours:


Name lecturer:

Nicolien Schmaal (course leader) and Information Specialists of WUR Library


Day 1 (09:00-17:00)

Effective and efficient use of the WUR Library:

  • Locating and getting the full text of known items
  • Customizing My Library
  • Finding information and literature databases on different platforms
  • Developing search strategies and search queries
  • Setting up alerts for databases
  • Citing and referencing literature
  • Searching and citing data

Please note: This part of the course strongly overlaps with the Information Literacy courses in the BSc and MSc programmes at Wageningen University.

Day 2 (09:00-12:30) 

Intensive instruction and practical on EndNote(1):

  • Introduction and why use a reference management tool
  • EndNote
  • Creating and filling libraries
  • Organising and managing libraries
  • Integration with Word
  • WUR Library support

(1) This part of the course focuses on EndNote, but you can ask questions on Mendeley.

Course Follow-up

During the course, you will begin to draft your personal search plan. After the course you will meet with a library information specialist who best matches your subject to further develop your search plan. The plan will be useful throughout your PhD.

The information specialist who best matches your subject will make an appointment with you for a follow-up meeting.


1. Reduced fee: PhD candidates of Wageningen University with an approved Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) and postdocs of Wageningen University that are registered at one of the graduate schools of Wageningen (EPS, PE&RC, VLAG, WASS, WIAS, WIMEK)

€ 140,-

2. Full fee: All other PhD candidates / post-docs and staff of Wageningen University

€ 280,-

3. Extended fee: All other participants

€ 560,-

Fee includes study and training material, coffee/tea and lunches.

Cancellation condition:

Until 1 month before the start of the course, you can cancel free of charge. After this date you will be charged with the “Full Fee”. 

Exemption of payment:

·         When there is a replacement (who you can propose, in this case please inform the course coordinator) you will only be charged with €100.

  • For PhD’s and post-docs of Wageningen University: when you have a valid reason (circumstances beyond your control) to cancel, you will be charged the reduced fee. In this case a written statement of the supervisor/superior is required.

Note: When you do not have a valid reason to cancel or do not show up at courses that are free of charge you will be charged with €100.


For more information please contact the Management Support Unit of the Library: tel: +31 (0)317-482005 or email