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Mechanical Engineering: Getting Started

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Engineering Graduate Student Thesis and Dissertation Workshops

Key Topics

*, **, *** show concepts or topics that overlap among the workshops.

Why am I Finding Literature?

Sometimes it doesn't seem like it, but finding literature will often save you time. It helps you find where your research fits in the discipline. Sometimes, your idea will improve a process that already exists and you can begin where the other researchers finished. Also, it can prevent you from making the mistakes of others.

  • *Purpose of a literature review*
  • ***Tips to make the process easier***
  • How to get help

online workshop module

Avoiding Plagiarism and Complying with Copyright

Plagiarism is taking credit for someone else’s idea, research, etc. Copyright gives the copyright holder (e.g. publisher or author) the right to control the copying of their work. This applies to books, reports, articles and even images in articles. Learn about plagiarism and copyright to avoid problems when writing your document.

  • What is the difference between copyright and plagiarism
  • Why are they wrong
  • Examples of plagiarism and consequences
  • **Avoid plagiarism by paraphrasing and giving credit**
  • What is fair use and what is a creative commons license
  • Examples of copyright infringement and consequences

Writing Topics

Include Citations and Writing to Differentiate Your Ideas from Your References

Have you ever read something and you weren't sure if the author was making a point or if they were stating the idea of someone else? Don't make this mistake yourself. Learn techniques to make clear where ideas in your paper originated. APA Citation Style will be used as an example format.

  • What is plagiarism
  • In-text citations and the reference section
  • Million dollar words
  • **How to place the citations to make it clear who’s idea it was**

Comparing and Contrasting Literature

When you are writing your thesis or dissertation, you want to analyze other literature related to your topic. Learn the difference between summary and synthesis, as well as techniques to make the process easier.

  • Purpose of the introduction section and what it should contain
  • *The difference between a background and a literature review section*
  • **The difference between analyzing (comparing and contrasting) and summarizing literature**
  • ***Methods of organization that can help when analyzing literature and writing***

Writing an Abstract

An abstract is a short document that that gives the reader the information they need to decide if they want to continue reading. Learn about the 5 questions all abstracts should answer and common mistakes that authors make.

  • Purpose of an abstract
  • Questions that are answered with an abstract
  • Examples of well written and not so well written abstracts
  • Practice identifying answers to the questions

Formatting for Graduate School

The Guidelines for Preparing a Thesis or Dissertation from graduate school contains accepted formatting practice. Learn some details about formatting and ask questions.

  • Why is formatting important
  • Where to get the documentation
  • Example using Microsoft Word
  • Open help session

Before Getting Literature

Getting Started with Finding Literature

You might know why you are doing a literature review and you might even have a strategy to determine if articles are relevant. However if you don't know where to go to find articles, books and other documents, you will never achieve your goal. Learn where to go to find information.

  • How to use the library guides
  • How to identify relevant databases and tools

online workshop module

***How to Choose a Reference Manager***

Using a reference manager can help you organize, which is greatly important for literature reviews. Find papers quicker, take notes, and in some cases, be able to search them. Learn the criteria to consider when choosing the best reference manager for you.

  • Criteria to help decide

Getting Literature

How to Choose Keywords and Construct a Search String

You might know why you are doing a literature review and you might even have a strategy to determine if articles are relevant. However if you don't know where to go to find articles, books and other documents, you will never achieve your goal. Learn where to go to find information.

  • How to choose initial keywords
  • How to find information about search query syntax for databases
  • How to perfect your search query

online workshop module

How to Find Full Text Documents

You found what you want to read, but now how do you get it? It you find 20 perfect documents, it doesn't matter if you can't get a copy of any of them. Learn to locate articles, conference papers, thesis, books, and more.

  • How to get electronic documents off-campus that you can get on-campus
  • How to locate copies of documents using databases, catalogs, and particular Web sites
  • How to get a document that the university library doesn't have

Three online workshop modules

After Getting Literature

How to Evaluate Information

It is good to evaluate all information critically including books, journal articles, reports, and Web materials. As an added bonus, critically evaluating what you read will help you produce a better literature review. Learn the questions to answer when evaluating information.

  • ***Criteria to consider to evaluate information***
  • How to determine an author's expertise
  • What is the peer review process
  • Examples in applying the criteria

online workshop module

Please contact me at and indicate what modules interest you. When the schedule is set, sign-up for the in-person workshop sessions using the UL Libraries Calendar. opens new window

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. opens new window 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.

Where do I start?

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

ZipSearch is a good place to start. It searches several of our databases and catalogs simultaneously. Don't use ZipSearch for in-depth research.

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

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

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

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. opens new window

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

How do I Find Articles on a Topic?

Use databases in the Finding Articles & Books page of this guide. Use the descriptions to find the databases that contain articles that are most closely related to your topic.

Where should I start? Try

Where can I Find Information about Colleges, Jobs, and Businesses?

How Can I Find Engineering Software?

Where can I Find Automotive Repair Manuals?

Information for Faculty

Brightspace Library Modules

are in the Learning Repository containing links to Library tutorials on our Web site:

  • Literature Review Tutorials: Why am I Finding Literature?
  • Literature Review Tutorials: Getting Started with Finding Literature
  • Literature Review Tutorials: How to Choose Keywords and Construct a Search String
  • Literature Review Tutorials: How to Find Full Text Documents
  • Literature Review Tutorials: Evaluating Information
  • Literature Review Tutorials: How to Find Theses and Dissertations
  • Literature Review Tutorials: How to Find More Books

To add any of these modules to your courses, select (Admin Tools) from the upper right and the Import/Export/Copy Components hyperlink.

Select Import Components and from Learning Object Repository. Search for and select the tutorial. If you always want the updated copy, create a dynamic link. You can lock to the specific version of the content if you want as well. If you want to make some changes, then copy it as content.

If you use it in your class, please let me know how it worked for you.

Institution Repository

Preserve your work and make it easier to find via Google by making it available on IdeaExchange@UAkron. opens new window Create a SelectedWorks page to promote your most important works. When posting work, always follow the publisher's guidelines.

How do I get an Article from Interlibrary Loan?

When you use the Full Text Finder button from one of our databases, the Request through interlibrary loan hyperlink could be the only one that appears. Some databases will have this hyperlink listed directly on the search results. In these cases, 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 on using your UANet ID and password.

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. 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, fill out the interlibrary loan opens new window form. An example of how to fill out the About my item section when requesting an article is

Journal Title: *

Journal of Nanoelectronics and Optoelectronics



Author of article:

Jungho Lee, Ji-Hong, Kim, Kang-Min Do, Byung-Moo Moon, Ji-Hoon Lee, Sang-Mo Koo



Published Date:


Page Numbers: *

260 - 264



Where did you learn about this item?




Title of the article: *

Nanocrystalline GaZnO films for transparent electrode to silicon carbide



Subject Guide

Tammy Stitz's picture
Tammy Stitz
S&T Library, Rm. 135

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