Developing Search Strategies
Select keywords from the research topic
- Find synonyms or related terms for each the keyword.
- Use Boolean operators (AND, OR) to connect keywords: combine concepts using AND, and combine alternate terms within a concept using OR.
- Select search tools (library catalogue, databases, etc.)
- Conduct your search.
- Review your search results and revise your search if necessary.
Finding Information on Your Topic
General background information:
Use Omni to find books (print and online) on your topic from Western Libraries and the Affiliated University College Libraries
An e-book collection by McGraw Hill for engineering subject areas.
Note: Review articles, an important source of background information, can be helpful in getting started. They synthesize key research on the topic and are written by experts in the field. Review articles are published in academic journals and can be found in databases.
Primary information sources, such as articles and conference papers:
Web of Science
The Web of Science provides seamless access to current and retrospective multidisciplinary information from approximately 8,700 of the most prestigious, high-impact research journals in the world.
Scopus is a navigation tool covering the world's largest collection of abstracts, references and indexes of scientific, technical, and medical (STM) literature. Seamless links to full-text articles and other library resources make Scopus quick, easy, and comprehensive.
PubMed is a free resource supporting the search and retrieval of biomedical and life sciences literature with the aim of improving health–both globally and personally. The PubMed database contains more than 35 million citations and abstracts of biomedical literature.
IEEE Xplore Digital Library
The IEEE Explore Digital Library provides web access to more than four-million full-text documents from some of the world's most highly-cited publications in electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics. IEEE also publishes journals in the biomedical field so the IEEE Xplore can be used to retrieve relevant literature. IEEE standards are available in this collection, too.
Its coverage includes journal articles, conference papers, dissertations, and patents (from many patent-issuing organizations). You can search by research topic, chemical substance, structure, and substructure. MEDLINE, a major database for biomedical engineering, is also included in SciFinder. Find the SciFinder-N Registration link on the library catalogue record. The registration is a two-part process and must be completed from within the University's IP range.
Other information resources:
Research Process Toolkit
The tutorial toolkit is a collection of Western Libraries tutorials specific to the research process. Organized as a step-by-step series from the beginning to the end of the research process, this toolkit helps equip undergraduate students with essential research skills along with the knowledge of various ways the Library can help.