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Chemical Engineering: Finding articles

Best bets for database pairs to search

No single database covers all the published literature on a topic or discipline, and there is unique content in each database. Searching a second database will increase your search results by 10%-30%. Each additional database you search after that will increase your results by smaller amounts.

Here are my top 2 database recommendations for the different research areas being investigated by McGill's Chemical Engineering department:   
 

Advanced materials & polymers:

Biomedical engineering & biotechnology:

Energy:

Environmental engineering:

Plasma science & engineering:

Giovanna's 15-minute rule

If you cannot find relevant articles on your topic in 15 minutes, contact me. I can teach you how to search the databases effectively, and/or perform a search on your topic and send you the results along with the search strategy.

Librarian

Giovanna Badia's picture
Giovanna Badia
Contact:
Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering
room 207 (main floor)
514-398-7340
Website / Blog Page

Find articles in these databases - Pick one subject-specific and one core multidisciplinary database to search

Core Databases in Chemical Engineering:

  • Compendex (subject-specific database) – provides references to journal articles and conference papers in engineering
    • Search tips for Compendex:
      • OR synonyms for an individual concept, AND different concepts
      • Compendex automatically searches for variant word endings through its autostemming feature
        • e.g., type controllers and it will automatically search for controllers, control, controlling, controlled, controls
        • autostemming NOT applied within quotes
      • alternatively, use * to search for variant word endings yourself
        • turns off autostemming and is NOT applied within quotes
      • use quotes to find an exact phrase, e.g., “chemical engineering”
      • use NEAR/x to find search terms in any order, within x words of each other in the title or abstract, e.g., oil NEAR/3 spill will find oil spill, oil spills, spilling of chemicals and oil
    • Guide: Review of Compendex Search Tips & Tricks (advanced searching handout)
       
  • SciFinder (subject-specific database) - provides references to the chemical literature, including substance and reaction information; useful for finding the experimental/physical properties of substances
  • Scopus (multidisciplinary database) - provides references to journal articles and conference papers, as well as contains information about how many times an article has been cited and who cited it; also contains references found in Compendex, Inspec, and Medline/PubMed
    • Search tips for Scopus:
      • OR synonyms for an individual concept, AND different concepts
      • If a synonym consists of more than one word:
        • use quotes around the words when you want them to appear as a phrase in the article title or abstract, e.g., "public transit" OR "public transportation"
        • use parentheses and the AND command when you want each word to appear anywhere in the article title or abstract, e.g., (walking AND disabilit*) OR wheelchair*
      • use * to search for variant word endings, works within quotes
      • use quotes to find an exact phrase, e.g., “chemical engineering”
      • use W/x to find search terms in any order, within x words of each other in the title or abstract, e.g., oil W/3 spill* will find oil spill, oil spills, spilling of chemicals and oil
  • Web of Science (multidisciplinary database) - provides references to journal articles and conference papers, as well as contains information about how many times an article has been cited and who cited it
    • Search tips for Web of Science:
      • OR synonyms for an individual concept, AND different concepts
      • use * to search for variant word endings, works within quotes
      • use quotes to find an exact phrase, e.g., “chemical engineering”
      • use NEAR/x to find search terms in any order, within x words of each other in the title or abstract, e.g., oil NEAR/3 spill* will find oil spill, oil spills, spilling of chemicals and oil
         

Need More References? Other Databases to Explore:

  • Embase (subject-specific database) - useful for searching bioengineering topics; provides references to more than 8,500 international biomedical journals
     
  • Environmental Sciences and Pollution Management (subject-specific database) – useful for searching topics concerning the environment
     

  • Google Scholar (multidisciplinary database) useful for finding one or two relevant articles on a topic
    • Search tips for Google Scholar:
      • you can include synonyms for just one concept and place parentheses around your synonyms, e.g., (oil OR petroleum) spill cleanup
      • Google Scholar automatically searches for variant word endings
    • Guide: Google Scholar Search Tips & Tricks (handout)
       
  • Inspec (subject-specific database)useful for searching topics dealing with computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical and production engineering, and/or physics
     

  • Materials Research Database with METADEX (subject-specific database) – provides references to journal articles, conference papers, technical reports, trade journal/newsletter items, patents, books, and press releases about materials science, metallurgy, ceramics, polymers, and composites used in engineering applications
     
  • PubMed (also known as Medline; subject-specific database) - useful for searching bioengineering topics; provides references to more than 5,500 international biomedical journals

Keep current with new search results

  • Create a personal account in a database to save your search strategy and create an alert so that you will be notified by email whenever there are new results that match your search strategy in that database.
  • Sign up for JournalTOCs to receive the table of contents of key journals in your field of interest.

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