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Research Guides

APS111: Engineering Strategies & Practice

Client needs, gaps and scopes

The information needed to provide support/evidence for or to understand client "needs", "gaps" in the world and project "scope" are all different types of information that may be found in different places. Below are some suggested starting places to start your searches for client "needs".

If you are struggling to find information, please see the "Getting help!" tab on the left.

Information for identifying client 'needs'

Engineers need to understand client "needs" to provide a good basis for the design process. Searching for information on client "needs" is an important skill that the professional engineer needs to develop to create useful engineering solutions for their clients. You may not be a member of the community or user group you are designing for and therefore need to do some background research to develop a better understanding. This type of research may require a comprehensive search using a variety of sources including scholarly, academic, technical AND non-scholarly.

General background information can be found in books and other articles in the library catalogue.  You can also find general technical information in the engineering technology eBook platform Knovel.

Reports, data, maps and surveys can also be useful places to help you better understand the community. These can include government publications, census data, market research, industry research, etc. The guides below are good starting points for finding this type of information. In addition, you can search for information using U of T's Map & Data Library website. You may also find some information in the grey literature (e.g. customer reviews). This type of research can be difficult to do on your. Please ask for help at the Reference Help Desk 

Government information and reports can also be found in an open web search. Remember to be especially thorough when checking the credibility of items found in web searches using something like the CRAAP test. Below are some tips for finding more reliable webpages:

  • use webpages that cite their sources
  • avoid citing commercial webpages or ones with a lot of ads
  • look for reliable sources with URLs that end with: .org (non-profit), .edu (educational institutions), or .gov (government)

There may be some information on your community in non-technical scholarly sources. You can search for articles in the library catalogue or through one of the databases suggested below:

While newspaper articles can be found on the open web, you may need to pay a subscription fee to read the articles. Use the guide below to access newspaper databases through the library.