The most important skill to master as you do research is learning how to do these three things well:
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.
Articles in the trade literature are usually written by journalists and are not peer-reviewed.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.
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 Other formats, such as conference papers, patents, and technical reports are not peer-reviewed but may be vetted in different ways.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.
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.
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).
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