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Hekman Library Guides

ENGR339: Senior Design

Class research guide for ENGR339: Senior Design, curated by liaison librarian

Consult Your Liaison Librarian

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David Malone
Contact:
Hekman Library 306B
1-616-526-6072 / ‪(616) 259-6497 (text)

Getting Started with Research for ENGR339!

  • Need a review of Hekman Library basics? Check out this "Get Connected" guide or browse our How-to playlist on Youtube.
  • If you're off-campus, remember to start at the library homepage when connecting to databases and ebooks, so you'll be recognized as a Calvin user (when you're prompted to login, enter your Calvin username and passphrase).
  • Struggling with citations? For more help, see the library's longer Citation 101 guide or try using Purdue's OWL (Online Writing Lab)
  • Remember, engineers are people who solve problems and focus on making things work more efficiently and effectively -- apply that kind of dedication to analysis, planning, and  design to create relevant informational searches.

Tips for Searching

Not everyone likes to search, but everyone like to find. Here are some tips for efficient searching for successful finding:

  • Choose the right database, a precise tool that fits your needs rather than a multitool that may be too generic. Multi-tools are handy and useful for many jobs, but none of the multi-tool tools are as good as the real tool, and no professional would rely solely on a multi-tool. Similarly, Google is a handy and useful research tool, but not as good as the research tools available from the library. 
  • 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. 
    • Example Team Project: Developing a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) to assist scuba divers and allow for improved endurance, range and safety when diving. The vehicle has four primary systems: Power/Propulsion, Controls/Ergonomics, Buoyancy/Stability, and Hydrodynamic Design.
  • Research is not elegant or pretty - RE search. 
  • Language is imprecise; there are multiple ways of describing almost everything
    • Synonyms: drinking water, potable water / climatology, meteorology / pellets, briquettes 
    • Contextual synonyms: Project: Wastewater treatment in developing countries. Synonymous phrases for "developing countries": sustainable development, appropriate technology, rural, villages.
    • Contextual definitions: elasticity (building materials and economic markets), election (theology and politics) [danger of using an interdisciplinary database] 

Recommended Databases

Other Web Resources

Recommended Guides for Industry and Company Information

More Research How-tos

Even if Hekman Library doesn't own a particular book or article that you need, you can borrow or get a copy from another library through our MeL and ILL sharing services. If you have any questions or problems, our library staff are always available to help!