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Engineering Research Guide

Use this guide to find MSU Library resources and other helpful research tools in the various fields of Engineering.

Finding Databases by Subject

  1. ​​​​​​Starting from the library homepage,,
  2. Click Find
  3. Click Articles & Research Databases
  4. Click the All Subjects drop down menu to filter by subject. 
  5. Choose your subject. A list of suggested databases will appear. 
  6. Select a database to start searching in, then enter keywords – if there are multiple search boxes, enter one keyword per box. 

Find, Articles, By Subject

Video: Finding Databases by Subject:

The video shows the same steps outlined above. This is in place of a transcript, because there are no spoken words in the video.

Finding Full-Text Articles in Subject Databases

  1. Choose a database
  2. Enter keywords to search. Example: Dogs AND (Depression OR anxiety)
  3. Filter by peer-reviewed articles, by subject, date, etc. 
  4. Download the PDF of articles with full text access
  5. OR, Click Check MSU availability to check if we have access elsewhere
    1. If we do have access, download the PDF 
    2. OR, Click Request it! and the library will try to get a free copy from another library 

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Video: Finding Databases by Subject:

The video shows the same steps outlined above. This is in place of a transcript, because there are no spoken words in the video.

Link Keywords Effectively (Boolean Searching)

Boolean operators are words you use to link your search terms together when searching for resources. 

Use them to increase or decrease the number of search results to find what you need

Boolean Operator Example Reason to Use
AND women AND military Searches for items that talk about both concepts together, and to DECREASE RESULTS.
OR women OR females  Searches for items that talk about either concept individually, and to INCREASE RESULTS.
NOT women NOT men To eliminate terms and concepts and to DECREASE RESULTS.


Advanced Search Tips


Truncation is a technique used to broaden your search. Truncation searches multiple forms of a root word to include various word endings and spellings.

  • Using an asterisk * at the end of a word will search all endings of that word
  • Use when there are multiple possible search terms, starting with the same root
  • The database or library catalog will return results that include any ending of that root word.
  • Examples:
    • cell*= cells, cellular, cellophane, cellulite
    • child* = child, childs, children, childrens, childhood
    • hospital* = hospital, hospitals, hospitalization, hospitality, etc.
  • Truncating some words can return irrelevant results. Looking for a good website on cats? By searching cat* your search will return results, including cats, catapult, cathedral, caterer, and so on. In this instance, search (cat OR cats).
  • Truncation symbols vary by database and website, but are most commonly: *,!,?


A wildcard is a character that can be used in a search term to represent one or more other characters. Substitute a symbol for one letter of a word.

  • This is useful if a word is spelled in different ways, but still has the same meaning.
  • Examples:
    • wom!n = woman, women
    • colo?r = color, colour

Find Like Terms with Subject Terms: 

  • Scroll down on the full record for the book you've found to the subject term fields.
  • You can click on these subject terms to find more on-topic items.
  • In Academic Search Complete and other databases, you can generally click on the subject term from the item’s full record to pull up a list of all of the items in the database that have been labeled with that subject term.

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