Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

MT 650: Special Topics in Materials Science and Engineering

How and where to do a literature search on topics in materials science.

The Search

Where to Look:

Find material through databases and journals (find them on the A-Z Databases list!)
  • Discipline-specific
    • Use the drop-down menu on the A-Z Databases list to find databases for your discipline.
  • Abstract-&-index databases
    • Scopus (owned by Elsevier)
    • Web of Science (owned by Clarivate Analytics)

Once you have a list, do some citation analysis of important articles
  • Look backward: Reference lists (Times Cited in the image to the left; click image to enlarge)
  • Look forward: Citing articles (Cited References in the image to the left; click image to enlarge)

Collect first, examine later: read abstracts for quick decisions
  • Later analysis will reduce your total number; a rigorous selection/inclusion process is key to a good review.

How to Look:

Assemble a list of keywords and subject headings
Use advanced search techniques for more efficient research
  • Different ways to refer to a term:
    • “measles mumps rubella” OR mmr
    • vaccine OR immunization
  • Different uses of a word:
    • immuniz*
      • Could lead to immunization, immunize, immunizing…
  • Synonyms:
    • epidemic OR outbreak
  • Put ‘em together:
    (“measles mumps rubella” OR mmr) AND (vaccine OR immuniz*) AND (epidemic OR outbreak)

Systematic reviews must include the thorough search strategies used to collect the material of the review for reasons of transparency and reproducibility. Whether you're doing a systematic review or not, the structure of the search can be very useful to help you think about how to do your own research. Find some examples below, or if you need help thinking it through, contact a librarian!

One Way To Track What You Read

This is an image of the spreadsheet one of our librarians used to track dozens of articles for a research article literature review. Your needs may vary, but attached below is a template of this spreadsheet for you to use yourself, if it works for you.

Another way: