Research Toolbox

What is the APA Style

APA Style is a citation style developed by the American Psychological Association. There are many citation styles both European and e.g. American and they determine in which order the information e.g. a literary source on the page and in the literature compilation / bibliography (bibliography) will be included in the final part of your scientific work.

If, for example, you have a book from where you have taken a piece of information from, for copyright reasons you need to indicate the book title in your work. Then the question arises, whether you write the author's name or only the book title first, and what other information is needed (i.e. year of publication, publisher, etc).

The purpose of specifying the sources is, among other things, to clarify on whose statements you refer the reader to and it should be so clear that the reader can can find the literature themselves, find the quote, and also be able to find further work on the topic. This functions best if all citation information is in uniform, such as citation style APA. The Cologne business school and also the EMS Mainz demand APA style in the writing of scientific works, to ensure this consistency.

The current APA style sheet can be found under the CBS Download (Link) (Passwort vergessen? Mailen Sie an

How to combine keywords and for what purpose?

At present, it is often still the case that databases expect from you that you combine the words actively, for example with the so-called Boolean operators AND, OR; AND NOT. If you have the theme for example: "How does social media influence the marketing of BMW" your query would be e.g. "social media AND marketing AND BMW". In google for example, it would be enough (at this time) to use all of the terms without the operator "AND" to get meaningful results, so google greatly simplifies the search for the user of an AND conjunction.

Therefore, databases give you the opportunity to flexibly design your search and to influence the significance of the terms i.e. you can control the ratio of what is searched by in the way that you enter your search terms , i.e.: (social media OR marketing) AND BMW, then you would get hits for articles where both the terms "social media AND BMW" and "Marketing AND BWM"  occur. There are many possible combinations. If you try it you will see that it can be also relevant which terms you enter first.

How do you search using Boolean operators (AND, OR, AND NOT)? Look here. You are looking for illustrative tutorials on the subject of research and how to combine searches? Here you find it.

How do I find keywords or search terms?

The first search terms you may find by simply brainstorming, but the "better" words you find when you start looking in databases. Within there if you see an article that sounds promising, then you can see the already given keywords there, and display the previously assigned tags. In this manner you will find the first upper and lower terms or synonyms or related terms. A thesaurus can also greatly help further because it shows the close relatives of the concept.

The "main trick" in which to find useful search terms is to imagine how the author could have called his article: will he explicitly mention the technical term? Has he perhaps abbreviated the title itself, to make it short and appealing? Would searching through the abstracts (summaries) be more productive?

What is a tag, keyword or a thesaurus? Find the answer here. Are you looking for illustrative tutorials on the subject of search terms or use or find related terms? Here you will find more.

What is bibliographic management software and which are there?

Literature-management software can help you and others to keep track of the literature used for scientific work and to output the collected title entries as references in different citation styles. Modern management programs can also be integrated into a word processor and automatically create a reference list in the appropriate format.

The functionality of reference management software is growing in many products now beyond pure research and management literature. Depending on the software, the date input can be via library catalogs, databases and the Web, making formal scientific work easier. Some also allow the analysis of the content as well as structuring, i.e. search within the data collection, organise full-texts, images, videos, or share the data (social cataloging application) with others. They may also facilitate the insertion of references and citations in the text document itself.

Literature management programs differ in addition to their many functions by their "location" - there are: only web-based programs, exclusive desktop programs or forms that use both "places". Some programs such as Zotero and Bibsonomy, are free of charge.

A comparison of reference management software can be found here.