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ENGL 199 - English for Engineering Students

Breaking Down Your Search

Focus Your Search

  • Identify the main concepts of your search. What do you want to know about your topic? 

    • Frame your topic as a question.

    • Identify the sub-topics and look for information on those.

    • Using synonyms for your concepts can help you find more articles. Add in another concept to narrow down your topic and your results.


Topic 1

Let's make our topic:  I am interested in researching how a code of ethics can offer guidance to engineers around client privacy.

Possible Search Terms
code of ethics professional ethics
confidentiality privacy


Putting the Search together:

(“code of ethics” OR “professional ethics”) AND  (confidentiality OR privacy)


Topic 2

Let's make our topic: I’m interested in exploring how engineers can support sustainability through building design

Possible Search Terms
sustainable  sustainability green
building design architectural design

Putting your search together:

(sustainable OR sustainability OR green) AND (“building design” OR “architectural design")


NOTE: if you are searching in a database other than an engineering specific database such as Compendex, consider adding a third term: AND (engineer OR engineering) 

Possible search results

Click the links to see what our search might look like

Modify your search based on your topic of interest. Make use of the filters on the left in the database to narrow down further.