Writing Advice

Making Use Of An Engineering Research Paper Database

Every student is assigned the task of writing a good quality research paper at some point and it is expected that they will rise up to the occasion and showcase not just their understanding of the subject but also the willingness to contribute to its development. However, some students prefer to take help from sample papers in order to get a good idea regarding the approach, style and structure. For that purpose, they visit databases that contain thousands of papers on a variety of subjects, including engineering. However, the sheer amount of content can be overwhelming for many and so to simplify the process, a list of proper steps to go through the database is presented below.

Evaluation of the main concepts

  • You have to identify the main terms and concepts related to the engineering topic you have chosen. It could be a single concept or various concepts that require your attention.
  • Under each concept, it becomes necessary to determine certain phrases or words.
  • You have to revise the same list during the actual process of searching by noting and then using proper subject headings which have been assigned to necessary engineering articles and books.

How to search

When you begin with a complex search, you tend to get less number of articles. Thus, it is advisable to begin with general search terms and then refine your query from there. If need be, you are free to use the advanced search feature of the database. Almost all the databases come with an advanced search option and this is important if you want to carry out sophisticated searches through the combination of different terms that have already been found in the course of search. The advanced search mode lets you specify the fields that you require to be searched.

Subject headings

Certain engineering books and articles in databases have subject headings assigned to them by users who review the documents. These are carefully perused and then assigned more than one subject heading. You have to understand relevant subject headings by selecting articles that deal directly with the engineering topic of your choice. You must then conduct research on the subject heading that is assigned to the article.


The majority of databases feature limiting parameters that focus only on your search results. You have the option of limiting your search for the retrieval of only peer-reviewed or scholarly articles. You also have the option of limiting particular journals or date ranges.