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Information Searching: Essential Steps Chemical Engineering 100 Sept. 26, 2005 Anne Fullerton , Chemical Engineering Librarian 5 Essential Steps to Finding Information Deciding what you are looking for Deciding where to look for information

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Information Searching: Essential Steps

Chemical Engineering 100

Sept. 26, 2005

Anne Fullerton, Chemical Engineering Librarian

5 Essential Steps to Finding Information

  • Deciding what you are looking for

  • Deciding where to look for information

  • Knowing how to look for the information you need

  • Evaluating the information you find

  • Acknowledging and listing your sources

    Monash University. 2003.

    Library Online Tutorials. Essential Steps. [accessed Sept. 25, 2005].

Engineers and Information

  • “Engineers have the most diverse/varied

    information literature in science and technology!”

    UT Austin Engineering Library. 2002. Engineering: where science meets the economy. Accessed Sept. 12, 2003

  • Engineers are problem solvers.

    Finding information is problem solving.

This diagram has been adapted from Evolution of Scientific Information. [From Allan Kent and Harold Lancour, eds., Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science (New York, 1979), s.v. "Scientific Literature," by K. Subramanyam, 394].

1.Deciding what you are looking for

  • what are the key concepts in your topic? List them.

  • do you understand all the terms involved? If not, consult an encyclopedia or dictionary

  • what would be the best search terms to use? List them, but be willing to add and subtract from your list.

    Consult these Sources(see Reference, right hand menu)

  • Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology

  • Oxford Reference Online






drinking water


waste water



drinking water




Terms I found by searching an encyclopedia, book, websites, dictionary.

Example:How can we remove the growing number of drugs which are appearing in our drinking water?

3 concepts




Search Statement combine the terms for each concept with OR and combine the concepts with AND.

(drug* OR pharmaceutical* OR ibuprofen) AND (wastewater OR waste water) AND nanofiltration


  • Consider alternate spellings of words (British and U.S.)

  • Truncate for different word endings

  • Don’t have to use all the terms you found in 1 statement.

2. Where to look:Books


  • Longer than articles

  • Information is at least 2- 3 year’s old

  • Topics less specific (broader) than in articles

  • Summarizes research and provides context

  • Tables and figures

    TRELLIS - UW’s Library Catalogue

Complete TASK 1 now

2. Where to look:Trade & Professional Magazines; News


  • Focus on current information

  • Written by journalists, staff writers

  • General audience – informal style, easy read

  • Controversies discussed

  • Refer to experts, current research projects etc.

  • May include a bibliography

    e.g. CEP Magazine; Chemical and Engineering News

2. Where to look:Scholarly or Research Journals


  • Current information

  • Public report of research results

  • Written by Faculty, Researchers, Grad students etc.

  • Includes authors’ name and credentials

  • Scholarly audience – assumes reader knows the issues or topic – difficult reading for novices.

  • Peer-reviewed (experts evaluate before publication)

  • Includes a bibliography of sources used in the work

    e.g. AIChE Journal; Journal of Polymer Research

Click and link to journal article online

or TRELLIS search.

2. Where to look:Research Indexes for ChE 100

  • Applied Science and Technology Full Text

  • General Science Abstracts

  • ABI/Inform

    see Subject Guide - Chemical Engineering

Complete TASK 2 now.

2. Where to lookWebsites – via Google or large sites

  • OK for facts, company & product info, news,

    government info, society & organizations (conferences, training etc.)

  • Comprehensive lists of websites are selected by librarians e.g. EEVL

    Evaluation criteria for websites

    Google –

  • Try same search terms as you did for journals

  • Google Images, Google Link (advanced). Google Define

    Complete TASK 3 now.

Paper TrailAcknowledging and Listing Sources

  • Proves your work has a substantial, factual basis

  • Shows the research you’ve done to reach your conclusions

  • Allows your reader to identify & find the references including images, tables, figures.

  • Acknowledges the authors whose work you used

    What Citation or Reference Style to Use?

  • Ask your prof; check course reading list

  • APA style for this assignment


Do a Google define search on plagiarism

-presenting someone else’s words and/or ideas as if they are your own

Protecting Yourself from it

  • Summarize what you read in your own words

  • Don’t use the sentence structure or words of the author

  • Use quotation marks if you use the exact phrases


    Plagiarism is easy to spot with Google and special software.

    Plagiarism can cost you your academic career.

Questions? Contact me:

@ Davis Info Desk:

Tues. 5pm – 8pm; Thurs. 1-2pm; 3-5pm


Anne Fullerton

Chemical Engineering & Biology Librarian

Complete TASK 4 before Friday Sept. 30

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