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CEN100 Introduction to Engineering

Getting Research Help

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Visit the Research Help Desk on the main floor of the Library for help.

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Workshops are scheduled throughout the term.

Online Guides and Videos

How-to guides and videos on writing, research and citation 

Creative Commons License

This guide has been created by the Ryerson University Library and Archives and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License unless otherwise marked.

Creative Commons Attribution License

Lecture objectives

After today's lecture, you will:

  • Know what is a library database
  • Be able to formulate a search strategy
  • Understand how to search a library database leveraging your existing skills
  • Know where to ask for research help

Using the library

Everything you need to know about using the library including answer to your most pressing questions:

  • How long can I take out a book?
  • How much does it cost to print?
  • Can I eat in the library?
  • And much more!

Everyday databases

You actually are already quite familiar with using databases in your everyday lives. We just want to make sure you learn how to use research databases in your time at university.

What are examples of everyday databases you might have used?

  • www.google.ca

  • www.amazon.com

  • www.netflix.com

  • www.flickr.com

  • www.pinterest.com

What are some common features of databases?

  • Information organized by groups such as subjects, or genre
  • You can search using keywords
  • Results of a search are shown as a result set
  • Results items have metadata
  • You can sort the results
  • You can limit your results set

Library databases

How is Netflix like the library?

Think of library materials like Netflix content

book/monograph => movie

book series => movie series

journal => tv show (collection of smaller stories)

article => tv episode

Netflix and Amazon are aggregators website, bringing together content from a variety of sources, of producers into one platform for you to gain easy access.

Many Library databases are also aggregators of content, bringing together research resources from many sources, disciplines, formats into one interface.

While there are vendor websites for consumer products, think www.apple.com. We also have publisher websites within our collection where you can get resources directly from the publishers like Wiley, or Elsevier.

Databases and articles

Learning Objectives: Understand why we use articles in research and the benefits of using library databases.


What are“articles”International Studies Quarterly


Articles, especially “peer reviewed” ones, are written by researchers, professors and other experts.


They contain:


  • expert knowledge

  • are double checked for accuracy,

  • have good research methods and

  • focus on a specific topic/issue.


We recommend articles because they will help you answer your research question and because they represent the type of research and writing you should be aiming for in your own assignment.


You might also find an article that disagrees with your argument. Incorporating “dissenting” sources into your paper and debating their merit with your other supporting sources is exactly what scholarship is about! Scholarly writing is a conversation and a debate between your ideas and your sources.



 Remember that accuracy and quality of information matters.





What are databases?

Article databases act like search engines for scholarly articles, magazine and newspapers. They can help you…..

  • search for subject-specific articles

  • get the full text of the article for free. Click on the “Full Text” or the "Find it" button in the results to connect to the full text.

  • cite the article you find in APA, MLA etc., (look for the “cite” button or link)


Why databases are awesome!
Databases are designed to help make your life easy! They offer key features like:


  • Full Text in PDF or HTML (Just look for the “Full Text Link” or the “GET IT” link).

  • Narrow your results to only “Peer Reviewed”

  • Email the Article to yourself

  • Show you how to Cite your article in APA (or another citation style you need)

    Here’s an example from our ProQuest Database:

    ProQuest Database Result page - arrow points to CITE link in the top right corner


Find articles using Search Everything

Find articles using “Search Everything” in 4 steps

1. “Search Everything” is the search box located on RULA’s homepage.

2. Type in your keywords


example of search everything interface


3. “Search Everything” lets you limit your search by peer reviewed articles (look on the left side of your screen)

4. When you see an article you’d like to read  - click on the “full text” link.


Example of Search Everything result page

Example of search everything result page