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KP Bibliotek

Assignment skills

Systematic literature search within the social and pedagogical professions

To guide you to relevant databases for literature search within the different subject areas we have divided them into topics on the library's website.


Block search

A block search is a systematic search which, in an academic context, most often will be based on a research question and its various aspects.

Research question:
How can the educator work with young people at risk of crime to support them in obtaining an education or employment?

The various aspects of the research question are translated into blocks. Three aspects of the research question can be deduced. The aspects are:

  1.  Educator
  2. “young people at risk of crime”
  3. Education OR employment.  

For each of the three aspects, synonyms and related concepts must be found to expand the literature search as shown in the table below.


Aspect 1: Aspect 2: Aspect 3:
educator* "young people at risk of crime" education*
”support educator*” "young criminal*" employment*
”social educator*” "young people at risk" job

“juvenile delinquency”


Each aspect and its synonyms and related concepts are grouped in parentheses in the search. These groupings are the “blocks” of block search. Within the parentheses, the Boolean operator OR has been used, and in some cases truncation mark * also has been used. The individual aspects are combined with AND.

Here is the search string:

(educator* OR ”support educator*” OR ”social educator*” OR pedagogue*) AND ("young people at risk of crime" OR "young criminal*" OR "young people at risk" OR “juvenile delinquency”) AND (education* OR employment* OR job OR school OR practice OR work)

In some databases the search string will look different but the basic principle of dividing into aspects, adding synonyms to the aspects and then combining the aspects are the same in this kind of systematic block search.

You can split up the search on one aspect at a time to see the results. After searching on each aspect, you can do the complete search where all aspects are combined as in the search string above.