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ENSC 105W: Library research guide

 


If you need help, please contact Holly Hendrigan, Liaison Librarian, Faculty of Applied Sciences at 778.782.8023 or holly_hendrigan@sfu.ca or Ask a librarian.

This page is intended to help you with your ENSC 105 assignments. You can also refer to the research guides for Engineering Science and Computing Science for general information. 

Slides from today's class

Informative Paper

This assignment asks students to provide an overview of the topic, and include background information regarding the history of the technology, its current state, and future directions. Students are required to outline the controversy without taking a position. 

Background information on topics can be most easily found in encyclopedias and books. 

Encyclopedias

Books

To find relevant information on your topic in online and print books, use the default search on the Library home page ("Library Search") Books will appear in the middle column. 

You may also wish to narrow your search to our technical e-book collections, such as: 

Safari Tech Books Online: Includes titles from publishers such as  O'Reilly, Pearson, and CRC. Some titles assume very little technical knowledge (eg also includes the "For Dummies" series.)  

Springer E-books English Language Collections: Highly technical books that include energy, engineering, and computing science

Persuasive Paper

The library catalogue provides some journal articles, but to conduct more comprehensive and focused searches, you will need to consult databases.

Subject-specific databases

Depending on your choice of topic, you may also find these subject-specific databases useful:

Applied Science and Technology Index 
Highly technical. Combine search with terms such as "ethical" / "environmental" / "climate change mitigation"

IEEE Xplore
Publications from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, including books, conference proceedings, journal articles, and standards

Business Source Complete 
Indexes journals which examine commodities from economic and financial perspectives

Environment Complete
Provides articles on all aspects of the environment: from renewable energy and pollution to environmental technology and urban planning.

Philosopher's Index 
Covers ethical and moral dimensions of technology 

Multidisciplinary databases

 Multidisciplinary databases provide information from a wide range of disciplines

Academic Search Complete
Covers several different subject areas, including science and technology as well as social sciences. Some of the articles included are not from scholarly journals, and not all articles have the full text. 

CBCA Complete
Includes articles from academic journals and popular magazines. Covers a broad range of topics. Articles from Canadian sources, including some scholarly journals, business magazines, and popular news magazines and newspapers. Good for learning about the 'Canadian' angle to any question.

Web of Science 
Articles from scholarly journals in scientific fields.

Canadian Points of View Reference Centre
Provides students with a series of essays that present multiple sides of a current issue.

Make sure you search more than one database, as different databases often contain different collections of articles.

Sometimes a database only provides a citation for a journal article and not the full text of the article itself. If this happens, it is likely that SFU Library still has access to the full-text article, usually through a different database; just look for the Get@SFU icon. 

Evaluating your sources

The quality of your assignment depends on the quality of the information sources you use. That's one good reason to think critically about your sources. For a research paper, you need to find scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. Scholarly journals are typically not popular magazines, and it is important to understand the differences between them. 

One primary difference is in the peer-review process by which articles are chosen for publication in scholarly journals. Before being accepted for publication, articles submitted by academics are reviewed by their peers (i.e., by other academics in the same field of research) for accuracy and quality. Most databases have features that allow you to restrict your searches to find peer-reviewed journal articles only.  

Unlike academic journals, where articles are carefully evaluated before they are published, anyone can publish anything on the web. This means the quality of information you find online varies widely and so you should always evaluate your sources carefully.

Writing your paper

The Student Learning Commons (SLC) provides help with writing and formatting your paper, including a WriteAway service that promises a 48 hour turnaround for feedback on a paper. 

There are also several books at the library on writing technical reports and different types of essays.

Citing sources

When citing sources, you will need to use a citation style. For your informative paper, you will be using IEEE style, and for your persuasive paper, you will be using APA style. 

It is always important to cite your sources. Citing your sources allows you to give credit to the original researchers, to point your reader(s) to where you found information, and to show that you know how to correctly cite sources.

Questions about what constitutes plagiarism? Try the SFU Library's Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism tutorial. If you have questions about citing or doing research, please ask a librarian.

IEEE style guides:

APA style guide