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GEOE 345: Site Investigation & Geological Engineering Design

In general...

This guide is designed to introduce you to information resources for GEOE 345, either licensed by the Queen's University Library or open access.  Contact engsci@queensu.ca for more information about:

  • Information sources for your assignment or project
  • Obtaining resources not at Queen's
  • Designing better strategies for your information searches

Project groups are welcome to set up appointments for 30 - 60 minute consultations with a librarian. 

Research Roadmap

Step 1
  • Define the scope of your project.  Do you need to narrow your topic from a broad, general one?  If so, some things to consider:
    • How established is the field?  If it is a well-studied field, there will be plenty of literature in a wide variety of formats.  If it is a new topic or idea, there may be very little published about it.
    • Do you want to focus on a particular location, time period, technology, theory, person, group, project, or event? 
    • What do you already know about the topic?  What do you need to investigate?
  • Start a list of keywords to use.  Terminology can change, so this list will need updating as you search.
  • Do background reading to find out more about your topic: check the reference ebook collections like Knovel.
  • Try a general search in Omni to find out the range of books and ebooks published (important when examining a long-established field).
Step 2
  • Try an initial, very general search in GeoRef, Compendex, Inspec and Geobase for your topic. 
    • Filter by publication year - how long it the publishing history for this field?  Are there any publication trends?
    • Filter by controlled vocabulary  to see the categories for this topic - this is where you can start narrowing your topic, and gain more keywords/synonyms.
    • Filter by document type, e.g., to see if any review papers about your topic exist.
  • Start a list of key researchers, groups, agencies and labs.
  • Start a timeline for your literature review.
Step 3
  • Search specialized databases in depth for journal articles, technical reports, theses, etc.
  • GeoRef, Compendex, Geobase, Inspec
    • Make use of these databases’ features, such as “cite by”, sorting, document type, and controlled vocabulary.
  • Make a list of the databases you have searched, and the keywords you used for each.
  • Check the reliability of your sources if unsure (e.g. Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory).
Ongoing
  • Use a method to manage your citations and use it throughout the search process, e.g. Zotero