Information Search Guidance

Information Search Guidance

Defining the search problem

  • Identify the key concepts of your search problem. Use synonyms to find suitable search terms.
  • Formulate search sentences and select the databases you intend to search from. 

Search words 

  • A subject word search is a more targeted search: within the subject field only. The terms are always based on some thesaurus.

  • A word search targets all fields and identifies keywords anywhere in the record, even in the text itself. 
  • Subject word searching is more accurate whereas (key)word searching gives you more results. It is worth trying both ways.

Humak Finna is the best place to begin your search. 

  • Humak Finna search results are shown in several tabs. You can choose the
    kind of material you want to view, such as articles or international
    e-material. Log in to Humak Finna with your Humak username and password (Haka
    ID) to access e-material.
Get to know different information sources:
  • Individual organizations also collect statistical information related to
    their own field. Theatre statistics, for example, can be found on the Theatre Info Finland page 

  • For statistics, visit Statistics Finland 

Different types of information:

  • Scientific information (e.g. scientific articles, theses/dissertations)
  • Professional information (e.g. articles in professional magazines, publications in the university of applied sciences series)  
  • Official information (e.g. laws and regulations, statistics, standards, official reports) 
  • General information (e.g. newspapers, podcasts, videos)
    Evaluate the success of your search. You can try other search words and
    renew the search if needed.
    You can also make use of internet search services
    and artificial intelligence applications in accordance with Humak

  • If there are too many results, you need to narrow the search.
  • If there are not enough results, you need to expand the search.
  • Interpret and evaluate your search results. Remember to follow good scientific practice when using sources.
  • Pay attention to the publication date (that is, check when your sources were published). 

Evaluating the sources

  • Can the information producer be trusted?  
  • Assess the purpose, accuracy and impartiality of the information.


  • Copyright refers to the basic exclusive right of the author to decide on the use of his/her work.
  • Others do not have the right to use the work without the author´s permission.
  • Copyright protects only the personal form of the expression of the work. It does not protect the
  • idea, the information content of the work or the theory contained in the work. These are freely available to others. Citation right is a limitation of copyright defined in the law. 
  • Copyright

Citation right is a limitation of copyright defined in the law

  • When you cite, there should be a relevant connection between the quotations and the cited work. 
  • Citation must not misrepresent the cited work. 
  • When using a quote, always refer to the original work and its author. 
  • If you reproduce the content with only minor changes, this also counts as citation. 
  • The use of images (such as photographs, maps, statistical graphs) is strongly protected by copyright law. Read the ImagOA guide if you are using images in your work.

Plagiarism is the unauthorized borrowing of a text made by another person without mentioning the original source

  • Plagiarism is against the law. 
  • Humak uses the plagiarism detection system Ouriginal. 

Using artificial Intelligence 

  • Be a responsible and critical user of AI. 
  • Artificial intelligence applications do not replace your own thinking and decision making. 
  • Make sure you evaluate the results and information provided by AI applications. 
  • At the bottom of your text, note that you have used artificial intelligence and describe how you have used it. 
  • AI might help you find relevant information faster. 
  • AI can create summaries of long texts to make them more understandable. 
  • AI might help in evaluating information and ensuring reliability. 
  • AI can help you reflect on and monitor your learning. 
  • AI can help you organize your text and improve the language. 

When you use an artificial intelligence application in your studies, think about whether you are using it as artificial intelligence or as intelligence augmentation

  • Artificial intelligence is relying on the app to do the work so you don´t have to think about anything yourself. 
  • Intelligence augmentation is using the application to support, reflect and enhance your own learning.

Humak AI guidance 
The Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences Arene published itsrecommendations on the use of artificial intelligence for universities of applied sciences in June 2023. The Humak guidance follows these recommendations.  

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Last modified: May 30, 2024