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Reference Sources / Background Information

Reference sources can help you find and develop a research topic by providing background articles, facts, statistics, dates and other general information on most topics.  

  • Gale Virtual Reference Library:  full-text database of encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources to help find background information and define your topic. 
     
  • CQ Researcher - Overview of current hot topics written by journalists. Examples: Modernizing the Grid and 3D Printing

TIP: Using Wikipedia for Academic Research - this is a very helpful 3 minute tutorial on using Wikipedia to locate background information.


Find Articles Using Library Databases -  Multidisciplinary:

  • Academic Search Complete: A comprehensive and scholarly database containing magazine, newspaper, and journal articles from across disciplines.  
     
  • Opposing Viewpoints in Context: this database gathers together viewpoints and information about controversial social issues including: US Energy Grid, E-Waste, Artificial Intelligence, and more. 

TIP: No full-text? Click on the orange Find It @ UT button to see if the article is available in full-text or in print in the library.

Find Articles Using Library Databases -  Engineering:

  • IEEE - full-text coverage of electrical and computer engineering, electronics, computer science, aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, and transportation.
  • Compendex - indexes the research literature of the field of engineering. The product contains more than 17 million total records.
  • Complete list of engineering databases

Recommended Magazines

Recommended Newspaper databases


Find Books using the Library Catalog

Search the UT library catalog to find books, journals, DVDs, maps and more.

  • Start with a keyword search to find a book on your topic
  • When you find a good title, follow the subject headings for more books on the topic

TIPS:

  • Take note of the location of the book, we have over 10 libraries.
  • Take note of call number this is how you will locate the book on the shelf.
  • Take note of the current status: If there is a due date listed instead of "available" that means the book is checked out to another person.  But you can request the book back by clicking on the Pick it Up link.

Don't want to come to the PCL library to pick up a book or go to the Fine Arts library to get a DVD?  

  • Click on the Pick it Up link to have the book, DVD, or CD sent to the library of your choice for checkout. 

Want a copy of a print article or a book chapter?  

  • You can request a copy via the green Get A Scan button.  This option may take a few days.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.