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Research Guides

APS111: Engineering Strategies & Practice (2019)

Immediate flood preparation, response, recovery and mitigation on Toronto Islands

In response to the 2017 and 2019 Toronto Island floods, Mr. French ("a retired engineer, University of Toronto Alumnus (Mech 8T8), long term island resident, and member of the Toronto Island Emergency Preparedness committee") "is requesting that your team design flood mitigation solutions that can be implemented with minimal budget in a short time frame. You can address any of the phases of the emergency management process" (see your Client Statement). Areas of concern to your client and stakeholder can be found in your Client Statement.


DO NOT CONTACT CLIENT OR STAKEHOLDERS DIRECTLY! (For more information please see your Cient Statement).


For this assignment you need to do research! You will need to find and cite credible information sources. This guide will help you find, evaluate and cite information. Use the navigation on the left to get started. This guide is just a starting point to your research. There are other credible resources not described in this guide. If you need help finding something, come to to the library!

Thinking about the words you use to search

People use different words to describe the same thing. An engineer might describe a 'flood' using technical terms; whereas, a member of the community would use different words. Here are some terms you might want to use in your search:

  • flood
  • flooding
  • urban storm drainage
  • storm water management
  • urban water systems

Similarly, depending on the type of source you are trying to find an item like a sandbag, could be described by it's name, material or function:

  • sandbag
  • sand bag
  • flood barrier
  • flood disaster control bag
  • water-bag dam

When searching in a database you can use Boolean operators such as (brackets), AND, and OR to combine terms. Use (brackets) to group words, OR between synonyms of the same concept and AND between different concepts.

For example: (flood OR storm water) AND accessibility AND transportation

(sandbag OR flood barrier) AND (interlocking OR connected)

If you need help determining words for your search finding sources, visit the Reference Desk at the library!

If you are new to a topic...

You probably are not an expert in accessibility needs of elderly citizens or how an early-warning system works. Needing to do background research on a project is very common in engineering. If you are working on a project you are unfamiliar with first start by reading about the topic in encyclopedias, technical dictionaries and books. This will help you understand the topic better and learn what types of words you need to use in your searches. Once you have this background understanding it will be easier for you to find and understand the jargon and other technical words in journal articles, reports, standards, handbook, patents, etc.

But I can't find...!!!

Sometimes students get frustrated because they can't find a source that exactly supports their claim or answers their question.  Remember, you are designing something no one else has designed before; therefore, that one perfect source probably does not exist.

When this happens, you will need to use various types of sources to give evidence in support of your ideas from different perspectives. Sources can be combine or triangulated to strengthen a design claim.

For example, if you want to support a claim that one item is better than another you might need to consult a handbook to determine properties about the material the items are made from, a journal article that describes an experiment that compares the durability of the two items, a catagloue to determine the cost of the two items and a government publication or standard to show the object is accessible and safe to use.