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EDSGN 100: Introduction to Engineering Design

Resources for researching and writing a technical report based on an engineering design.

Article Search Tips

Finding the best articles on your topic requires these steps.

  • Select an appropriate database.
  • Enter and combine terms appropriate to your topic
  • Scan the best items on the results list and look for new subject terms or keywords. Then revise your search using these new terms.
  • Save the journal title, volume, date, and page numbers.  This is all part of the "citation". 
  • Explore other databases and subject terms (which vary between databases) for more information.

Search: Combining Terms

Combining Search terms by using AND/OR/NOT

These 'connector' terms (often called "Boolean operators") are used to combine search terms and concepts.


  •  narrows a search so that ALL search TERMS are retrieved.
  • Use this to link different concepts in your search
  • example: dogs AND nutrition


  • expands a search to include ANY ONE of your search terms. 
  • Use this to link synonyms.
  • example: dogs OR canine


  • eliminates unwanted search terms. 
  • Use this carefully because it often results in eliminating some good citations.
  • example: dogs NOT cats

Using Truncation

Definition: Truncation is a search technique that replaces word endings by a symbol. The most common truncation symbol is the asterisk (*).

Reasons to Use: Using truncation will broaden your search because it looks for multiple endings to a search term. This also insures that you will efficiently locate more results because you are unsure if the article will use the singular or plural form of the search terms.