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Research Guides

MSE390: Communication II

Searching in Article Databases

You can use a database to find articles related to your topic. A database will search across hundreds or even thousands of journals at once. U of T subscribes to multiple article databases that you can use to find articles from journals, conference proceedings, technical reports, and other sources of information.

Search these databases using keywords or combinations of keywords to find articles on your topic (be sure to try different combinations) to use Boolean Operators (such as AND, OR, using brackets) to combine your keywords. "OR" is useful for grouping synonyms and related terms together, e.g., sensor or sensing.

Below are a list of some popular databases to use for engineering topics. You can use these databases to find resources such as journal articles. 

You can save your citation information to a citation manager, like RefWorks. Check out the videos below or visit the ECSL Reference Desk to get tips and tricks on using these databases.

Got a great article or book? Check the references and look up the resource using following online tools:

UTL catalogue toolbar All tab selected

Many databases have direct full-text links to the article online. If there is no full-text link, you must look up the journal or conference title in the UTL Catalogue.

 Get it! U of T Libraries buttonMost indexes now have a UTL 'Get It!" button. Use this link to find online copies or to search the library catalogue automatically.

What is peer review?

  • Peer review is the process by which colleagues critically appraise each other's work.
  • When the manuscript of an article is submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, independent experts are asked to read and comment on the manuscript.
  • If approved by the reviewers, the manuscript is accepted for publication as an article in the journal.
  • The peer review process is applied to both primary articles (i.e. articles which present findings from original research) and to review articles that summarize primary research.
  • The purpose of peer review is to ensure a high level of scholarship and to improve the quality and readability of the manuscript.
  • Peer reviewed articles are also sometimes called "refereed" articles.


For more information on the peer review process, please see the Peer Review Guide 

(including how to use Ulrich's Periodical Directory

Searching Scopus for journal articles

​Scopus is a major multidisciplinary database for the social sciences, life sciences, health sciences, physical sciences, and arts and humanities.

Tip #1 - Sort your Results (Most Relevant, Most Cited, Most Current):

The sorting options can be found in the upper right corner of your search results. 

  • Remember to check that your results are sorted by "Most Relevant" rather than "Most Recent" just to the upper right corner of your search results.
  • You can also sort your results by "Most Cited" to see which articles have been used the most in other research, but keep in mind that the more current articles will not have been cited yet by other researchers.
  • Find the most recent articles by sorting your results using the "Date" option.  

Tip #2 - Filter by Document Type (Articles, Review):

On the search results page, you can choose from many different types of filters (date, author, keyword ). With the Document Type filter, you can click to just view: 

  • "Articles" (original research with methods, results, sometimes a short literature review)
  • "Reviews" (articles and conference papers that examine or review others' original research to give an overview of a topic and typically have an extensive reference list).

Tip #2 - Filter by Keyword:

With the Keyword filter, you can click to view the major topics associated with your search results and the exact number of articles that are tagged with that keyword.

  • Limit By: Check off the keywords that you want to take a look at and click on "Limit by" button to narrow down your results to specific keywords.
  • Exclude: If there are keywords that really aren't relevant to your search, but has a large number of articles associated it, click on "Exclude" button to remove it from your search.