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Research Guides

Engineering Undergraduate Library Skills

General or Specific?

In Engineering terms...


  • Encyclopedias OR Handbooks: Essential sources of technical data on all sorts of topics. They are also useful sources of background information and descriptions of theories and their applications.
  • Textbooks: Usually on general topics and will help with introductory and background research.

Middle Ground:

  • Books: Can be on general or specific topics - chapters/portions of books are very useful, you do not have to read the whole thing for the information you need!


  • Review Articles: A summary of citations/articles found on a specific topic - a great source to find primary articles.
  • Primary Articles: Describe an original experiment or analysis that adds to current knowledge a particular topic. These articles will include background information, the methods used, a description of the results, and an analysis of what the results mean in the context of current knowledge.
  • Technical Reports: Describe the progress or results of scientific or technical research. They are usually issued by government agencies, university departments, or corporations.
  • Conference Proceedings: Collections of papers presented at conferences. They are a great source of up-to-date information on research in a particular field.
  • Patents: A protection granted by a national government for an invention. It excludes others from making, using or selling an invention for a period of up to 20 years.
  • Standards: Documents that describe the important features of a product, service or system.
  • Codes: Collections of laws and rules which provide procedures to maintain uniformity and safety. 

Where to Find Engineering Resources

To begin searching for scholarly resources, your first stop should be

Each part of the website provide useful links for you to begin your research process:

Looking for information on renewing your items, contacting the library, or our hours? Try one of these links for more details!

  • The most important button here is Research Help, giving you links to course-specific library guides (like APS111 & 112)!

Looking for research guides specific to your field of study?

  • These are links to subject-specific library guides, helping you to find books, databases, patents, etc. depending on your area of focus.
  • For help with searching for Standards & Codes and Patents, use these guides.
    • Please see TechStreet below for more information on standards!

Looking for books, e-books, handbooks, and other materials offered online and in the physical ECSL collection?

Looking for peer-reviewed journal articles?

  • Compendex: Comprehensive coverage of all fields of engineering, ranging from 1884-Present.
  • Scopus: Multidisciplinary database (subjects inside and outside of engineering), containing peer-reviewed articles, trade publications, and conference papers from 1966-Present.
  • Web of Science: Peer-reviewed articles for subjects such as astronomy, biochemistry, biology, pharmacology, biotechnology, physics, chemistry, computer science, materials science, mathematics, and medicine, ranging fromk 1900-Present.
  • Proquest: Covers all subject areas, including engineering, with peer-reviewed articles as well as being the premier database for international thesis literature, ranging from 1997-Present.
  • IEEE Explore: Full-text access to IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) transactions, journals, magazines, conference proceedings, and all current IEEE Standards, from 1988-Present with select content back to 1950.
  • ACM Digital Library: Major resource for computer science research, being the premier database for ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) publications as well as journals, transactions, magazines, proceedings, and newsletters, with varying years covered.
  • SciFinder: Comprehensive coverage of world literature on chemical information. Includes multiple databases: Chemical Abstracts, CASREACT, CHEMCATS, CHEMLIST, Registry, Medline, ranging from 1907-Present.

Looking for Standards?

  • TechStreet: Provides links to standards and codes from around the world, covering fields like construction, electronics, medicine, telecommunications, and more.
  • IEEE Explore: Contains IEEE standards in biomedical engineering and healthcare, information assurance, information technology, nanotechnology, power and energy, telecommunications, and transportation.

What is Peer Review?

However, not everything in a scholarly journal is peer-reviewed - there may be news items, book reviews, editorials, opinion pieces - so you need to know what a peer-reviewed article looks like. Check out the internal clues here:

You can also check your journal in Ulrichs Periodical Directory (Ulrichsweb), to see if it's peer-reviewed.