MSE 101W: Library research guide


This web page is intended to help you with your MSE 101W assignments. Also refer to the research guides for MechatronicsComputing Science and Engineering Science for general information. Start early so you can get the information and assistance you need.

If you need help, please contact Shiyi Xie, Liaison Librarian at 778-782-8023 or or Ask a librarian.

Slides from the Library Research Workshop and the session on  Citing Sources

Academic encyclopedias

A good place to start to gain an overview of your topic and quickly find out the names of the most influential developments and researchers in your field. The Gale Virtual Reference Library is highly recommended for social science topics. If you can't avoid Wikipedia, track down and cite the sources in the bibliography rather than the article.

Science, technology, and society : an encyclopedia
Encyclopedia of Environmental Health
Ethics, science, technology, and engineering : a global resource 


To find relevant information on your topic in online and print books, start with Library Search from the home page; the books appear in the middle column.

Print books requested from Burnaby take 1-2 days to arrive in Surrey. 

Technical academic publisher platforms

Knovel : Collection of technical handbooks, including chemicals and formulae.

Access Engineering: Engineering reference and teaching platform

ScienceDirect: Technical articles and book chapters published by Elsevier

Springer LINK Search: Highly technical books that include energy, engineering, and computing science

For help with the catalogue, ask a librarian or see the SFU Library Catalogue Search Guide.

Journal articles

SFU Library Databases

Browse by subject (eg, Labour Studies, First Nations, or Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies) or title of database

Academic Search Premier
Includes articles from a range of academic journals and popular magazines. Covers a broad range of topics

IEEE Xplore
A database of worldwide literature in electronics and electrical engineering, computers and control, physics and information technology

Web of Science
Provides citations and abstracts for journal articles, conference proceedings, and other resources in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities.

Applied Science and Technology Index 
Citations for articles on applied science and technology topics such as engineering, computer science, and robotics

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 

Business Source Complete
Provides resources on business aspects of technology, including marketing, human resources, and industry information.

News sources

Canadian Newsstream
Full text access to major Canadian daily newspapers (such as the Globe and Mail, National Post, The Gazette (Montreal), and Vancouver Sun) as well as small market newspapers and weeklies published in Canada.

Wide range of information from newspapers, newswires, industry publications, websites, and company reports.

Nexis Uni (formerly Lexis Nexis)
International news coverage, business news, legal cases and law reports from early 1970's to present.

Search strategies & tips

1. Identify words

What words will you use to search for information?  For a paper on Facebook and privacy,  think about other keywords to use  (i.e., synonyms and related terms).

  • possible related terms for Facebook: social networks, social media, Twitter (and other online social networks that may have different policies about sharing user data) 
  • possible related terms for privacy: data mining, legislation, rights

2.  Refine your search:

See SFU Library guides on defining your topic and identifying concepts, combining terms, truncation, and what to do if you have too few or too many results.

Evaluating resources

It is important for you to understand the differences in the type of publications you will encounter. Often popular science magazines will summarize recent reports from the primary scholarly literature for the general public. Scholarly publications report on new research or ideas and are used for scholarly communication. Each of these types of publications can be found in print and on the web.

See SFU Library's What is a Scholarly Journal? guide to help you distinguish between popular and scholarly sources. 

For a more detailed overview of the peer review process, see the Library's What is a peer-reviewed journal FAQ.

To help you evaluate information, you find on the internet, see SFU Library's guide Internet Research: Finding and Evaluating Resources.

Mini literature review

You are required to submit a short (5-item) literature review prior to submitting your persuasive essay, a document that briefly summarizes and explains the relevance of the sources you have chosen to support your argument. See Literature reviews in the applied sciences for a fuller explanation; the Library page on annotated bibliographies, which include examples, might also be helpful.

Citing sources

When citing sources, you will need to use a citation style.  For your research paper, you will be using IEEE style. For the annotated bibliography, you will use the APA style.

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

Questions about what constitutes plagiarism? Try the SFU Library's Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism tutorial.

Zotero is a free, open source tool that helps you collect, organize, cite and share your research sources.  Citations can easily be added by dragging and dropping PDFs of articles into your account. 


Owned by: Shiyi Xie
Last revised: 2024-05-22