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Explore for Topic Ideas
In addition to Google, other interesting resources for exploration will include local news sources. With creative searches, students can identify local issues that have great potential for study. Note that many news sources with have topics like "Science & Technology" that the reader can use.
Tartan Database This link opens in a new window
A digital collection from the Carnegie Mellon University Archives. The Tartan has been the weekly student newspaper of first Carnegie Tech and now CMU since 1906. Perform your search, then limit to the Tartan using the collection filters on the left.
Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center This link opens in a new window
Open data portal of the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny county, providing free access to regional datasets on a wide range of topics.
Locate Background Material
The resources below can provide succinct overviews of your possible topic. Some might even suggest areas of future work or indicate active research areas. In addition to these databases, consider trying to find a recent scientific review article that is related or closely related to your topic. See the box to the right.
AccessEngineering This link opens in a new window
This is a "reference tool for professionals, academics, and students that provides seamless access to the world's best-known, most-used collection of authoritative, regularly updated engineering reference information. AccessEngineering
also comprises dynamic online features, such as instructional, faculty made videos, calculators, interactive tables and charts, as well as personalization tools allowing users to organize crucial project information as they work." AccessEngineering
includes the well-known Schaum's Outline
series of books. Database Guide.
AccessScience This link opens in a new window
The McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology on the web, provides full access to articles, dictionary terms, and hundreds of research updates in all areas of science and technology.
Encyclopedia of Physical Science and Technology This link opens in a new window
Compendium of articles on biotechnology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, molecular biology, physics and robotics.
Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology This link opens in a new window
Descriptions of chemical substances, including their properties, manufacturing, and uses fundamental to industrial processes and unit operations in chemical engineering.
Knovel This link opens in a new window
Full text interactive reference books and information resources from some of the leading science and engineering reference handbooks, databases, and conference proceedings. New to Knovel? View this video!
Locating Review Articles
In many cases, finding a scientific review article will entail taking the results of a topical search and then simply finding those which contain the word "review" OR "survey" OR the phrase "state of the art" in the title. Many of these review articles will help to identify knowledge gaps in the field, near-term opportunities for scientific advancement or prime areas for problem-solving applications.
A few databases actually allow you to search for a "Review Article" document type. They are:
Scopus This link opens in a new window
Academic database covering peer-reviewed journals, book series, and conference proceedings - includes scientific, medical, technical and social science topics, with emphasis on citation analysis. Scival feature requires registration but is free to CMU affiliates.
Web of Science This link opens in a new window
A multidisciplinary database, with searchable author abstracts, covering the literature of the sciences, social sciences and the arts & humanities providing indexes and links to cited references for each article.
Use Background Material or Scientific Reviews or Journal Articles to Locate Knowledge Gaps or Recommended Future Research
As you read the literature be especially mindful of article segments pertaining to future research, discussion or conclusions.