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Design Project Seminar (Electrical and Computer Engineering): Getting Started

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The Point of this Guide

This guide was created to help you create a better background section in your report. Many sources that enable you to find literature are provided.  There are tutorials that have been designed to save you time by teaching you to use these sources effectively. There is information to help you decide what literature is best to choose for your report and how to cite this literature as quick and easy as possible.

With this guide, you will be able to

  • find information from various sources including articles, books, technical reports, and patents about the
    • basic theories pertaining to your project and
    • current technologies related to your project;
  • select the best literature to promote and analyze your project;
  • write an effective background section that promotes your project and seeks its validity while avoiding common student errors; and
  • cite references appropriately and easily.

Don't Know where to Start with your Research?

Subject or Course Guides are a great place to go to find out about a subject.

Search-A-Roo searches several of our databases and catalogs simultaneously, but it shouldn't be used in-depth research like your senior project. You won't find everything that you need with it.

thumbs upGood use – Find one article to review for a class project.

thumbs downPoor use – Perform a background search for your report.

Use the databases directly for in-depth research on a topic. If you know exactly what book, DVD, etc. that you want, use the UA Libraries Catalog directly.

*Images provided by Microsoft Clip Art

Want to Access Electronic Resources Off-Campus?

Be sure to use the UA Libraries Catalog or Web site to use the proxy server. Go to a definition of a proxy server. You will be prompted for your UANet ID and password from The University of Akron Login screen. Most of the time you will be prompted one time per browser session.

If you go to the URL of the resource directly, you will bypass the proxy server.

Some resources like SciFinder will require another user id and password, but most don't. Often when you are prompted by anything besides The University of Akron Login screen, either

  • you did not go through or were somehow dropped by the proxy server or
  • we do not have access to the particular item, such as an article from a year of a journal that is not part of our subscription. Check the Publication Finder to verify dates that we subscribe.

How do I Find a Specific Article?

Do you know where the Article is (what journal, conference, volume, pages, etc)? Use the UA Libraries Catalog.

Need a Specific Article that Can't be Downloaded and is not in our Library? Try

How do I Find Articles on a Topic?

Want to perform a more thorough search than Search-A-Roo? Use the Articles & Books Tab. Use the descriptions to find the databases that contain articles that are most closely related to your topic.

How do I Find Technical Reports?

There are sources of free technical reports. If the report is not available full text, try interlibrary loan. If you need help, please contact me.

Google Patent Search

Searches the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office; however, it does not necessarily find all the patents in the these databases.

Where can I Find Information about Businesses?

How do I get an Article from Interlibrary Loan?

When you use the Full Text Finder button from one of our databases, this hyperlink could appear instead of sending you to the full text articles. Some databases will have this hyperlink listed directly on the search results; You don't have to select the Full Text Finder button first.

Either way the form will partially fill out for you. Be sure to check the information is right – The more correct the information you give them, the faster you will get the article. After you select the hyperlink, you will need to log into your account.

Creating your Account

If you don't have an account for the ILLiad interlibrary loan system, set one up. Use the First Time User hyperlink and follow the instructions. After you complete the registration form, you can start requesting right away. You will never need to pay for an article. This service is always free for you.

Getting your Article

Interlibrary loan will get the article for you if they can. If they can get a copy, you will get an email when your article is ready. Just log into your account and you can download it. If they can't get a copy, you will get an email letting you know as well.

Filling out the Interlibrary Loan Request Form

If you did not find your article from a database and we do not have it, you will need to fill out the interlibrary loan form yourself. An example of requesting an article is

Field. Title (of Journal, Conference Proceedings, Anthology): Value. Journal of Nanoelectronics and Optoelectronics

Field. Volume: Value. 7

Field. Issue Number or Designation: Value. 3

Field. Year: Value. 2012

Field. Inclusive Pages: Value. 260 - 264

Field. ISSN: Value. 1555130X

Field. Article Author: Value. Jungho Lee, Ji-Hong, Kim, Kang-Min Do, Byung-Moo Moon, Ji-Hoon Lee, Sang-Mo Koo

Field. Article Title or Chapter Title: Value. Nanocrystalline GaZnO films for transparent electrode to silicon carbide

Presentation and Guide Quiz

Previous Senior Project – Example

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries