BBE 4502W: BBE Capstone Design

Finding Background Information

Encyclopedias and handbooks are a good way to get a broad overview and context for a subject and helpful for deciphering research articles. References at the ends of articles lead you to further relevant information.

Other helpful sources of background information are review articles and trade magazines. You can find those using databases like Scopus and Web of Science and limiting by Document Type or Treatment Type.

Finding Research Articles

Articles are the primary way scientists communicate research results. Use an article index or database to find articles on your topic; the citation includes article information like article title, author, journal name, issue, year, and the abstract. 

When you are starting to delve into a new subject, review articles are your best friends. Most article databases will allow you to limit your search just to this type of publication or document. The long reference lists in review articles are also a good way to identify key articles.

Search tips

The following search tips tend to work across different databases: 

  • Use the word AND to link concepts together: innovation AND product complexity
  • Use the word OR with parentheses to search for synonyms: education AND (AI OR artificial intelligence)
  • Use quotation marks to search for a specific phrase: “knowledge management”
  • Use an asterisk to search for multiple endings of a root word: comput* - to find compute, computer, computing, computation

Finding Patents & Standards

Patents are a good source for technical detail, research data, and drawings. Most information in patents is not published elsewhere. Companies often publish in the patent literature before, or instead of, journals. 

Finding Market & Industry Information

The following databases are key resources for finding information on science and technology-related industries and markets. Keep in mind that you may need to think a little more broadly when looking for information on an industry (e.g., adhesives rather than pressure-sensitive adhesives).

For help finding other types of business- and market-related information, contact Caroline Lilyard or see the Business Reference website.

Citing Your Sources

Last Updated: Feb 16, 2024 5:26 PM