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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

Information Searching: Essential Steps

Chemical Engineering 100

Sept. 26, 2005

Anne Fullerton, Chemical Engineering Librarian

5 essential steps to finding information
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 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
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
example how can we remove the growing number of drugs which are appearing in our drinking water





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
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
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
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
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

2 where to look research indexes for che 100

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 look websites via google or large sites
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 trail acknowledging and listing sources
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
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