University of Minnesota
Institute of Technology
myU OneStop

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Engineering Research: A Guide to Finding and Contributing to Your Field's Literature

Janet Fransen
Assistant Librarian
University of Minnesota
Liaison for Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Aerospace Engineering,
and History of Science & Technology

When most people think of a library, they think of books first. But books are probably not the primary resource you will use as you gather literature for your research. You may find yourself looking for journals and journal articles, conference papers and proceedings, research reports, technical reports, patents, standards, and more. University Libraries provides access to most of the literature you'll need, both through print collections housed in library buildings and through subscriptions to online resources. In this colloquium, you will be introduced to what the library has and how to go about finding what you need. I will cover both library databases such as IEEE Xplore and the publicly available Google Scholar.

Some of your work will involve tracking down a paper or report from a citation, or finding everything written on a topic. But part of being a researcher is keeping current. With so much information available, it can be challenging to determine which journals and authors to follow regularly. There are many qualitative factors, but also a few quantitative measures you can use to evaluate journals and authors. In particular, I will review the Journal Citation Report's Impact Factors,'s Article Influence score, and Hirsch's h-index.

At some point, you will need to share your research with others. Whether your output is a conference poster or paper, a Masters or PhD thesis, or a paper intended for publication, you will need to consider issues outside of the research itself. In particular, I will discuss how to avoid plagiarism (including self-plagiarism), honoring the copyrights of others, and protecting your own rights to the literature you produce.