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Research Guides

MSE498: Design and Research Project

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.

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.

Filter by Document Type (Articles, Review):

Databases have a large range of filters on the search results page (date, author, keyword ). Scopus and Web of Science have a Document Type filter that allows you to narrow down to primary and secondary research, you can click to just view:

  • "Articles" (primary / original research)
  • "Reviews" (articles and conference papers that examine or review others' original research to give an overview of a topic)
  • Be sure to avoid Book Review. 

Other strategies 

Finding review articles: Look for journals with titles like: Advances in… Reviews in… Annual reviews… Progress in…


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

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.

To identify significant articles, you can look to see how many time and article has been cited in other research. There are several databases that provide that information: ScopusGoogle ScholarWeb of Science databases. However there are potential problems with cited by data: 

  • Older famous papers widely accepted therefore may not be cited as much 
  • Important papers not written in English not cited in English literature 
  • High cites may not measure QUALITY of a study, but may measure INFLUENCE

Sort your Results by Most Cited: 

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.

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

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If you have additional questions please contact us!

In person at Engineering & Computer Science Library, visit our Reference Desk


phone us at 416-978-6578

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