Skip to Main Content

Research Skills For Engineering Students

The goal of this tutorial is to improve your engineering information research skills.

Research Overview

This tutorial has reviewed tools and skills that will help your research as an engineer. If you have any questions about this tutorial or research in engineering, see the Need help? section!

To review:

This tutorial has broadly reviewed 3 different search tools:

  • Google and Google Scholar to gain familiarity and find freely available information
  • Summon (single point to find and access the majority of the UBC Library collections) to get started with scholarly information, such as books, articles, etc.
  • Academic databases to find specialized and subject-specific information

You should use all these tools for comprehensive research. No one place or one source exists that will provide all your information needs; you will likely need to look in all these places and in others not mentioned.

Information can be found in different places and in different ways:

  • Think about what type of information you’re looking for, and where it could be found
  • Not all information is available online
    • Some information is only available in print
  • Remember that it can take time for scholarly and peer-reviewed information to be published
    • You might not be able to find scholarly information about something currently being reported in the news
  • The information may not be available, or studies on your topic have not occurred
    • Look for similar studies that would be applicable to your specific topic
    • Look for broad information (general process, technology, etc.), as well as information that addresses the specific context of your report

Searching is an iterative process:

  • Experiment with different keywords and operators
  • Evaluate & assess your results, use filters
  • Modify your search as needed
  • When you find relevant articles look at their citations & references

You may not have access to the same resources and databases once you graduate from UBC. Industry resources, expectations, and authorities may differ from those in academia. However, the skills gained during your academic research are transferable to industry, and will contribute to lifelong learning past your time as a student.