TCO 141 Library Research Toolkit (Fall 2014)

by Lee Twombly Olson last modified 2016-04-28T16:30:18-04:00

This course guide is designed to assist you throughout the library research process. The links below include the steps for selecting resources to locate primary and secondary sources, implementing effective search strategies, and evaluating the sources found. If you have any questions, please contact the Engineering subject librarian, Lee Olson.

Getting Started

Crucial to research is mapping out a strategic plan which includes developing and acquiring basic knowledge about your topic.

Identifying Types of Sources

Know what types of sources you need as well as how to identify the different types.

Finding Resources

Listed below are the databases mentioned in your textbook (Knisely & Knisely, Engineering Communication) which also are available at the Tarver Library. Some databases not mentioned in your textbook are listed as well.

  • ERIC - Covers all aspects of education and educational research, includes both abstracts of published and unpublished sources on thousands of educational topics. It corresponds to the printed indexes of RIE (Resources in Education) and CIJE (Current Index to Journals in Education). The EBSCOhost version of the ERIC database includes the searchable Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors.
  • JSTOR - An online archive containing back issues of scholarly journals in many disciplines.
    • JSTOR (video available here) - this guide demonstrates searching this resource, containing articles from a variety of disciplines dating back to the 1800’s.
  • PubMed - NLM (National Library of Medicine) search engine for Medline and OldMedline databases. This customized portal will identify references for fulltext that is available for free on the Internet and via the library.
  • ScienceDirect - Elsevier's e-journal/e-book platform.
    • ScienceDirect (video available here) - this guide demonstrates searching this publisher-specific database containing primarily scientific, medical and technical information.
  • Web of Science (Web of Knowledge/Thomson Reuters) — Provides detailed citations and abstracts for the top scholarly periodicals in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Includes the Science Citation Index, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index. Covers both domestic and international journals, open access resources, books, patents, proceedings, and Web sites.
    • Web of Science - learn how to use this citation database to find articles in the sciences and humanities.
  • Academic Search Complete - Provides abstracts and indexing for over 3,800, as well as full text for over 3,200 scholarly journals and general magazines.
  • Dissertations and Theses Full Text - Covers dissertations accepted at accredited U.S. institutions since 1861. It selectively covers Master's theses and Canadian, British, and other international dissertations. Most dissertations since 1997, along with some earlier dissertations, are available in full text.
  • ProQuest Newspapers - Provides full-text access to five major national newspapers. Coverage includes full-text articles but not advertisements, illustrations, or photographs.
    • Locating Newspaper Articles - Need to find an article from a newspaper? This guide demonstrates how to find out what newspapers Tarver has access to and where to find them.


Resources other than the subscription databases above are listed below.


Full-text articles may not always be available in the resources you are searching. Follow the guidelines in the link below for gaining access to full-text articles.

Searching Tips

Implementing various search strategies assist with narrowing or broadening the number of sources you are able to find.

Evaluating Sources

Ensure that your research is current, relevant/reliable, accurate, and on point.

Citing Sources