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Engineering 339 (Senior Design)

Advice for Searching and Finding

Searching vs Finding

Venn diagram with "Discover" in left, blue circle, and "Find" in right, purple-grey circle.

Not everyone likes to search

To be a successful searcher, you must begin with the assumption that the information you need is out there - somewhere. If you don't begin with this assumption, you'll quit too soon or be satisfied with inferior results.

Don't aim for the grand slam: You may have to break your search strategy into the smaller components that make up your project. 

Team Project: We are designing and building a expedition camper. It will be able to be pulled by a jeep or larger vehicle off roading. As well as being portable by car it will also second as a water vehicle. the objective is to have a camper style trailer than can be taken on water. additional components may include a solar powered engine in the boat portion of the project. 

Research is not elegant or pretty - RE search. Schedule a few team research evenings.

Language is imprecise

  • Synonyms: drinking water OR potable water / climatology OR meteorology / pellets OR briquettes 
  • Contextual synonyms: Project: Wastewater treatment in developing countries:. Synonymous phrases: sustainable development, appropriate technology, developing countries, rural, villages; Geothermal: Synonymous phrases: thermal effects, heat transfer, temperature distribution, heat flux, thermal gradient
  • Contextual definitions: elasticity (building materials and economic markets), election (theology and politics) [Note: this is a concern when using an interdisciplinary database] 

Choosing the right database is necessary for success.