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ChE 333T - Engineering Communication

Sources and information to assist students in Chemical Engineering 333t, Technical Communication.

Articles in Periodicals

Searching with Keywords

The most important skill to master as you do research is learning how to do these three things well:

  1. Formulate and express a coherent research question.
  2. Translate the question into a search strategy that can be used to query various databases.
  3. Choose appropriate databases for your search.

Most people are just used to "googling" something:  typing random words in a box and getting thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of random results, and then scanning through the top 10.  Rinse and repeat. This isn't effective in academic research, and you'll need to develop a better technique for finding information.

Indexes to Trade/Business News

Articles in the trade literature are usually written by journalists and are not peer-reviewed.  They report news and developments in industry, regulatory systems, and markets.  When searching for this kind of information, pay special attention to publication dates.

Indexes to Technical Literature

The technical literature is the collective body of publications, in many formats, that report the results of research.  These reports are written by the researchers themselves.  Journals publish articles that are usually peer-reviewed.  Other formats, such as conference papers, patents, and technical reports are not peer-reviewed but may be vetted in different ways.  To search in the technical literature you'll use a different selection of databases than you would for trade news.

Chemical Industry Magazines

A number of trade magazines cover the chemical and process industries.  Unfortunately, their native web sites are not open without a personal or corporate subscription.  Some full text of articles (without graphics) can be found in ABI/Inform and Business Source Complete, while others have to be consulted via the library's print holdings.  Some of them are described in our Chemical Engineering Economics guide.

CE magazine      


Newspaper coverage tells us about events as they happened, without the advantage of longer analysis and the passage of time.  While in depth investigative journalism can provide excellent background and insight into important topics, it's becoming much rarer these days. 

Newspaper content can be hard to track down.  Most newspapers put their articles behind subscription paywalls and access via the library is hit or miss and constantly changing. Due to cost, we can't provide direct access to many major metropolitan newspapers that you may want to see, but some of them can be found within aggregator databases such as Nexis Uni and Factiva (see box above). 

What's an Index?

An index is a database that allows you to search for published literature.  This can include many formats, such as peer-reviewed research articles, news, conference papers, patents, reports, and more. 

Do Indexes contain the articles?

Index databases don't usually contain the full text of documents they index, but they almost always provide a link to a digital copy of record.  Some indexes like Academic Source and Business Source do contain some full text.

Are all the articles in these indexes available to me online?

No.  Indexes show you what's been published.  They provide a link to start a search for the full text, and we will have some of it, but there's a lot of content that we don't have direct access to.  You can use Interlibrary Services to get copies though.

What Databases are available?

You have access to hundreds of databases of all types and subjects via the Libraries.  Here's where you can find a list of them all:

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