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ENGR 3670 - Total Quality Systems: Research Guide

Choosing keywords

Think about terms you can use to describe your topic. The words you used in your topic proposal is a good place to get started. Once you've done a few searches and have found an article or two that looks interesting, use the titles, abstracts, and subject headings provided in that article to find new keywords to try.

Try combining different keywords with and to make a more specific search, like six sigma AND reliability, to find articles that have both terms included. You can also broaden your search by using OR between two related words, like personnel OR employee.

To find all variations of a term, you can replace the end of the word with an asterisk. Communica* will bring back communicate, communication, communicators, etc. This technique is called truncation, and you can use it in most databases and the library catalog.

What are databases?

Databases are used to search for articles printed in a range of publications. We subscribe to databases that index everything from scholarly journals to newspapers and popular magazines. 

All databases will include citation information for the articles they index, and most will have abstracts, or short summaries of what the article is about. Some will also include the full text of articles online. If a particular database doesn't have the full text available, you should see a link that says "Get It!". Click this link to see if the library gets that article from another source (online or in print), or to request a copy from another library.

Multi-search options

You can use the "articles" tab on the search box on our home page to search several databases and the catalog at once. For projects where you only need one type of information this isn't a great choice, but for this assignment it will be very useful. Since all of your topic ideas cover engineering, management, and other similar fields of study, the multi-search tool is a great way of searching databases that cover engineering information as well as business and management topics at the same time.

Searching for Books

Searching for books that we own is easiest to do using the library catalog. You can use the search box on the library home page (using the 'catalog' tab), or the search box below this one. Each item we own has a single record in the catalog--when you do a search, you are looking to see if your keywords appear in the title, author, or subject headings for any of our books.

You can also search for books outside of the library collection. I like using Google Books, Amazon, or Worldcat to do this. If you find a book you'd like to use that the library doesn't own, you can borrow it from another library using our Interlibrary Loan service (see more info below).

Google Books

Search the Google Books index of scanned books from publishers and research libraries

Google Book Search

Worldcat.org

Search 10,000 library catalogs at once, and see the nearest location for a book you need.

Search for an item in libraries near you:
WorldCat.org >>

Subject Guide

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