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Research Skills for Engineering Students (2024 edition)

This tutorial supports the development of engineering information literacy skills

Important notice of change

Effective January 8, 2024, this tutorial replaces the previous edition of the Research Skills for Engineering Students which was in use from 2014-2023. The older tutorial will remain available until May 2024.

Why engineering research skills matter

Developing your research skills is what UBC Librarians help with. This tutorial is designed to be self-paced and self-assessed. Review the tutorial content to learn about the types of information sources used within the field of engineering, where and how to effectively locate relevant information, and how to evaluate and cite the sources you find. 

UBC Library also provides a self-enroll Canvas course on how to use UBC Library that covers standard university expectations for student research and citation styles. This course is recommended for all students.

Tip: Install the Library Browser Extension for free online access to information provided by UBC Library

Engineering librarians at UBC

Engineering librarians are available by email or appointment to help you with research. Figuring out how to find and evaluate the best information for the question you are trying to answer can be challenging, and each of us is happy to help!

photo of Kevin Lindstrom, librarian at UBC Vancouver

photo of Sarah Parker, librarian at UBC Vancouver



photo of Barbara Sobol, librarian at UBC Okanagan

Kevin Lindstrom, Vancouver Campus

Sarah Parker, Vancouver Campus

Barbara Sobol, Okanagan Campus

Statement of purpose

This guide was created by UBC Librarians to support undergraduate engineering student learning objectives. The content is designed to introduce skills that will be honed throughout a degree. Self-guided activities and formative assessments are provided for students to asses their skills and for instructors to include these skills within courses.

The Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) ensures that engineering education programs prepare graduates to have certain attributes (2022 Accreditation Criteria and Procedures Report, see page 7). Many of these attributes require an ability to locate and user engineering information effectively.

Many of the "test your knowledge" sections were copied under a CC license from: Harding, K., Carter, A., Ebrahimi, S., & Mueller, E. (n.d). Engineering and information: Research skills for engineers. Open Library,

This tutorial is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Notes for Instructors

This tutorial is designed to be self-paced and self-assessed. However, each section activity could be repurposed as an in-class assessment, or could be required as a submission from students. UBC instructors are welcome to use and adapt this content to support the learning outcomes of your students. 

The design of this tutorial is flexible. It can be read and engaged with in a linear fashion, or used as standalone modules. If students were to review all of the content in this tutorial, they should have a solid foundation of engineering specific information literacy skills at an undergraduate student level.