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Mechanical Engineering

Welcome to the Mechanical Engineering Research Guide

This guide is designed to help you find great research for your report, term paper or thesis. It's easy to find basic info using Google, but to find specific and high-quality technical information you need to use dedicated research tools and databases!

Need help? I am working from home during the pandemic, but you can always email me, or arrange a virtual (e.g. MS Teams) appointment. See my page on accessing research from home using university credentials.

Note that general library services like study spaces and book loans will be different this semester - this page has the latest information on them.

Steps in researching your research paper, report or thesis

The process you follow when researching and writing a paper usually has at least the following steps:

  1. Choosing a topic - If you can choose a topic, choose one that you're interested in! If you aren't sure, do some preliminary reading and searching using general terms to figure out what you might pick. There's more advice here.
  2. Choosing where to search - This is key. You should always use several search tools and types of sources for a good paper. If you are starting out and want an overview of a topic, look for Books and other background info here. If you are looking for the newest research on a very specific question, or your professor has told you to use peer-reviewed articles, you can use a Research Article database. And we have Design Codes and Standards (CSA) available here.
  3. Searching at each place you've chosen - It's important to plan your search strategy, since it can be tricky to find scientific info, especially on a specific topic. See the Books or the Research Article tabs for specific advice, and this guide.
  4. Reviewing what you find - Are you finding relevant information or do you need to modify your strategy? You can always contact me for advice! It's also important to organize the documents you find to save time later. You can use a citation manager (Zotero or Mendeley) to track what you find in your browser. 
  5. Writing and citing - see the page for advice on doing a literature review (or term paper) and citing your sources properly to avoid plagiarism.

Research assignment life cycle. Step 1 - choosing a topic; Step 2 - choosing where to search; Step 3 - Searching; Step 4 - Reviewing what you find; Step 5 - writing and citing. The steps form a circle with arrows connecting the steps in multiple paths

Writing a research assignment or report is an iterative process  - you don't just proceed linearly from one step to the next. It is normal to go back and refine your topic while you are researching, or to search some more while you are writing!

New! Composite Materials Handbook

Composite Materials Handbook Volume 1 coverThe Composite Materials Handbook, referred to by industry groups as CMH-17, is a six-volume engineering reference tool that contains over 1,000 records of the latest test data for polymer matrix, metal matrix, ceramic matrix, and structural sandwich composites. CMH-17 provides information and guidance necessary to design and fabricate end items from composite materials. It is written by panels of experts from academia, industry and government., and published by the Society for Automotive Engineers.

Links to all six volumes of the Handbook are located on the Books tab of the guide.