ECI 291: EWR Capstone Project

by Ruth Gustafson – May 20, 2022

ECI Topic Ideas and Search Terms

Useful sources for finding recent research in all sciences, where you might find interesting topics, are the weekly magazines SCIENCE NEWS and NEW SCIENTIST. In addition, the premier journals SCIENCE and NATURE include the latest innovative research across the sciences. Use the Journal Citation Reports to find top-cited peer review journals in your discipline or topic area.

Once you’ve picked a topic, you will need to think of search terms to use for locating articles and other publications. Search the UC Davis Library online catalog (for books, DVDs and more) and use the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). Each library subject database also has subject lists/thesauri that can help you precisely search your topic, e.g.  Compendex has Classification Codes and SciFinder has Registry number searching.


Ruth Gustafson

Student Services
Student Services and Researcher Services Librarian


In this Guide:

  • Library Guides & Tutorials
  • Librarian Instructor for ECI 291, Spring Quarter 2022
      • Ruth Gustafson  @               Book a Zoom APPOINTMENT with Ruth (for biological, agricultural & environmental sciences but check Subject Guides for others such as Chemistry, Atmospheric Sciences etc.)

The UC Davis campus has 2 separate science libraries (health sciences) and one sciences area on the 3rd floor of Shields Library.  Important science information, including maps, is also found as part of the Government Information Collections of Shields Library, Lower Level.

  • Biological, Agricultural, Environmental Sciences, and Physical Sciences & Engineering, Shields Library:  All current STEM print collections (excluding medicine) are located mainly on the 3rd floor of Shields Library.  Some collections in the environmental sciences are located on the 2nd floor in the G classification areas.
  • Blaisdell Medical Library, Medical Education Building, UC Davis Medical Center
  • Carlson Health Sciences Library, Southwest UCD campus
  • Physical Sciences & Engineering Library, Just NorthWest of Mrak Hall (permanently closed; current/high-use materials moved to Shields Library)
  • Government Information Collection, Shields Library  — Choose Government Information gold button.  The UC Davis Library is a federal and state depository library with extensive historical and current collections in print, microform and electronic formats. We collect extensively from major international, intergovernmental organizations, selectively from local jurisdictions, and on a very limited basis from foreign governments. Agriculture, forestry, the environment and ecology are areas of strength. We collect comprehensively from the U.S. Congress and California Legislature, along with federal and state laws and regulations. The Library’s collection of technical report literature is extensive. We emphasize statistical data in all collecting areas. Most government documents and maps are listed in the UC Library Search: UCD local collection. Some materials, such as technical reports or patents may require specialized indexes or assistance from STEM librarians.


Scientific Literature Publication Cycle [Diagram]

University of New Mexico

Illustration of scientific research process using a clockwise timeline with indication of earliest research output to latter outputs of research process. Describes the type of literature generated at different points in the publishing cycle and the types of assimilation into secondary and tertiary literature.

The UCD Libraries selectively buy materials on writing in the sciences. Browsable subject headings that bring up these types of publications include:  Chemistry — Authorship  Communication in engineering ; Communication in science ; Communication of technical informationProposal writing for grants; Proposal writing for research; Report writing; Scientific Illustration ; Technical writing ; Visual communication in science .  For information on giving an oral presentation, combine the subject heading Public speaking with either Communication in engineering or Communication in science or Communication of technical information.   For specific works on writing literature reviews, try the subject heading Review literature as topic (note that this is a big publishing area in the health sciences but there are some more general titles, too).

  • UC Library Search: UCD Library Local Catalog Search
    Replacing UCD Library Catalog on July 27, 2021, the new UC Library Search enables you to search through all of the University of California libraries’ collections. By selecting the ‘Local Catalog’ setting your search will be limited to items available through the UC Davis libraries. If you Sign in (on top right corner) using your UCD login and Kerberos passphrase, you are prompted with your loan period, can renew books online, and request items that have been checked out to another borrower, or are in storage.


  • Understanding Call Numbers

    Author: Library Instruction Services, Shields Library

    Library of Congress Classification is used for all of the UCD libraries except the health sciences libraries (which use NLM — National Library of Medicine — classification). Learn about how books are arranged in the UCD libraries with this guide.

    Date: 2004


NEED a PRINT ONLY ITEM AND CANNOT COME TO CAMPUS?  We’ll ship it to you!  The UCD Libraries Shipping service (started during COVID time)  continues to deliver to your home or off-campus location.   Just Sign In, then click on the REQUEST link from the item you need and we’ll mail the whole item to you.  Make sure you have your correct address listed, when prompted.

ONLY NEED a chapter or an article from a PRINT ONLY ITEM?  Use the DIGITIZATION link but make a note of the specific chapter/article you need and include as much info as you can, especially page number, if available.


Subject Guides

There is a subject guide matching nearly every department at the UC Davis campus.   This browsable list is organized by broad disciplinary categories:  Agricultural and Environmental SciencesArts & HumanitiesBiological SciencesEngineering & TransportationGeneral & Multidisciplinary SourcesGovernment InformationHealth SciencesPhysical Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Note the following cross-disciplinary but very important guides for engineering researchers:

Patents  ,  Technical Reports ,  and Standards & Specifications


Peer Review

A process through which manuscripts submitted to a journal are evaluated for quality — by one or more subject experts in addition to the editor — before being accepted for publication.

Peer Review Process Infographic

ProQuest article databases (such as PsycINFO, GeoRef or Ag & EnviSci database) include a checkbox to limit to “Peer Reviewed” articles. For journals retrieved from other databases, use the online Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory to locate your journal and then look for the black and white striped  symbol indicating the publication is “Refereed” or peer-reviewed.

  • Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory  Icon

    The standard source for information on virtually every active and ceased periodical, annual, irregular publication, and monographic series published throughout the world (plus thousands of newspapers). Indicates whether a publication is a refereed (peer-reviewed) title.

    NOTE: search by journal or publication title, NOT article title. Ulrich’s provides information on the entire publication (journal, magazine, newspaper, annual review) NOT on the work within.

Clarivate Analytics Journal Citation Reports is a comprehensive tool for assessing the importance of research journals in disciplines and sub-disciplines including medical specialties.

NOTE that *review* journals may often be listed as top ranked titles, taking space away from original research titles, so use with caution. Typical review series may have the following words in their title: Advances in … ; Annual Review of …; Critical Reviews in … ; Current Opinion in … ; Expert Reviews in … ; International Review of … ; Progress in … ; Trends in …

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is an annual publication by Thomson Reuters with each yearly data analysis being completed in the summer of the following year. JCR indicates: most frequently cited journals in a field: highest impact journals in a field; and largest journals in a field. JCR Science Edition contains data from over 7,300 journals in science and technology. JCR Social Sciences Edition contains data from over 2,200 journals in the social sciences. NOTE: For disciplines that have longer timespans for citation, consider sorting for ranking by using the 5-year Impact Factor sort.
Release Coverage: 1997-2016 (for 1996-2015 data)
Impact Factors in Wikipedia: validity, manipulation, and misuse of Impact Factors
Using JCR Wisely