An explorative search is a broad search, which gives you an overview of what literature and data is available within your topic. It helps you to clarify your mind and later it will serve as your foundation to describe a rationale - the scientific background for the study, and to write your problem formulation.
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If you receive 5000 results in Pubmed your topic is
Which of the following databases and search engines can show you the most cited articles at the top of your search results?
If you want to contact an author of a journal article you find interesting, which author should you contact?
The last author, who is usually the department leader
The author indicated by “Address to which correspondence should be addressed”
Always the first author
If your explorative search reveals only 3 articles which of the following may apply?
The databases you have chosen to search in are not relevant for the topic you have chosen
Your topic is too narrow
Your topic is novel and you will need to base it on empirical data rather than on already published literature
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