Literature search and scientific relevance

  • WMO
  • Non-WMO

Literature search

A search and analysis of the scientific literature relevant to the research question under consideration is essential for developing the research questions and or hypothesis and a solid research plan. Often a comprehensive and targeted review of the most relevant publications is necessary to comply with the norm of taking into account the latest scientific insights.

All information from reliable sources should be considered. Scientific literature is a source of data in and of itself. Scientific transparency and reproducibility are best served when literature search, retrieval, extraction, and interpretation are documented, even if the literature review is not the primary goal of the study itself.


  • Conduct a comprehensive review of the literature in the relevant and associated fields of study in preparation for formulating a preliminary research question or hypothesis.
  • Conduct an in-depth review of the literature most relevant to the preliminary research question or hypothesis to refine the research question or hypothesis.
  • Repeat this process, resulting in the statement of a definitive research question or hypothesis.
  • Consult the literature periodically to ensure that all relevant new information is available to the research project.

The Medical Library Research Support can help you find scientific information in your research area. Their online environments allows you to search and consult a large number of digital journals, medical and other databases. The Medical Library also offers support in searching the literature for relevant studies.

Trial Registers

The following public registers may help you find out what has been published or what kind of clinical studies are being conducted in your research area.

It is important to note that, in order to qualify for publication in an increasing number of medical and biomedical journals, registration in a public register approved by the WHO is mandatory.

The website of the new Dutch Trial Register (‘Landelijk Trial Register’; LTR) is available. The ultimate aim of the LTR is to provide a clear overview of all clinical research in the Netherlands in one register. Currently, the LTR only contains the data from the former National Trial Register (NTR). Gradually, the LTR will be expanded with data from other registers. 

All data from the former NTR have been imported unchanged into the new register and cannot be modified. Functionalities are being built in so that this will eventually be possible. If you need to make changes in a specific study now, please consult the LTR website.

It is currently not possible as yet to register new research in LTR. To register a new study, you can choose one of the approved WHO registries such as The full list of approved registries can be found at Primary registries in the WHO registry network.

More information can be found on the website of the CCMO.