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Materials Science and Engineering

Links to resources in and out of the Library.

Find Reviews, Technical Reports, Conference Papers

What Are Reviews?  How Do I Find Them?

Review Articles try to summarize the current state of research on a particular topic. Theoretically, the author(s) searches for everything relevant to the topic, and then sorts it all out into a coherent view of the “state of the art” as it stands at the time the article was written. Review Articles will teach you about::

  • The Main researchers working in a field
  • Major advances and discoveries
  • Gaps in the research
  • Current debates
  • Where research might go next

These articles are a great place to start as they contain the basic information and core articles on a given topic.


Find Review Articles:

Most article indexes and databases allow you to limit your search to include only review articles. This feature might be called "Review", "literature review", "State of the Art Review" or "Review Article". Set up your search like usual, then look for menu options that help you "Limit to", "Filter", or "Refine" your search to review articles, select it, and run your search.


If you open up PubMed, you can search for review articles on the drug Paxil by putting “Paxil” in the search bar, then clicking the "search" button. Look at the list of filters on the left-hand side of the page of search results. Under “Article Type” you’ll see a link labeled “Review”.


Annual Reviews of Scientific Literature
Annual Reviews - Annual Analysis of Scientific Literature is a database of publications that focus on reviews of specific topical areas in a range of disciplines. These Annual Reviews are indexed in article databases, but you can also search this source directly.  Search by topic. No need to add the word "review" to your search as that is the focus on this set of resources


Find Comprehensive Reviews

Depending on depth your research will entail into a topic, you may want to search for book-length reviews.  Go the the Library's website, Select Books, Videos and More (WorldCat Discovery), then search topics with the word Comprehensive.  For example:

  • Comprehensive and Biomaterials
  • Comprehensive and Nuclear Materials
  • Comprehensive and Superconductor
  • Comprehensive and Nanomaterials

What are Technical Reports?  How Do I Find Them?

Many engineering and science article databases include technical reports from professional associations. So for example, if you need a IEEE technical report, start with the IEEE Xplore database. The resources here cover Government sponsored or grant-funded research.

Typically, government sponsored or grant-funded research requires written reports of research findings. These technical reports often have a lot of detail including methodology, equipment used, and tables, charts and/or graphs of the results that may not be reported elsewhere. The sources here are good places to look for technical reports that originate out of federally funded research:


Historical Technical Reports

Looking for historical technical reports issued by the U.S. government?  Try the following resources:

Find Conference Papers

Conference proceedings and papers can be tricky.  Sometimes the Find It button works well, other times not. Conferences can also be called symposiums, meetings, congresses or conventions. Use the following strategies to find Conference papers:

STRATEGY 1 - What professional association or society hosted the conference?  If the Library has a database that covers that group's publications, search there.  For example:

  • Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers - Search IEEE Xplore
  • American Chemical Society - Search ACS Publications

STRATEGY 2 - Do a Journals search (Library's main page). Search by the conference name

STRATEGY 3 - Search WorldCat Discovery. Tips for Searching:

  • Search using the primary words from the conference name. For example to find the proceedings from the Symposium on VLSI Technology and Circuits, search: Symposium VLSI Circuits

If too many records appear, then do an

  • Advanced Search with the primary words from the conference name as an author search. On the Advanced Search page, use the drop-down menu to select an author search

WordCat Discovery Advanced Search template showing drop down menu and author search


STRATEGY 4 - Request the proceedings/paper through Interlibrary Loan

Finding Literature Reviews in Specific Databses

Find Reviews in SciFinder

Reviews: On the Explore References search page, click the box to the left of "Review" in the Document Type(s) category (below the blue area that contains search text box).

Find Reviews in Web of Science (WOS)


Before doing a search:

After Doing a Search:

  1. Using the Document Type filter in the left navigation bar, select Review
  2. Click the Refine button

NOTE: the Review button will only show If there are Review(s) in your search results

Left navigation bar with Document type filter and Revie Article circled

Find Reviews in Engineering Village - Compendex and INSPEC

Engineering Village (Compendex and INSPEC) has a QuickSearch feature that gives you options for limiting your search

Step 1: Unselect the GEOBASE database by clicking the orange box to the left

Compendex databases with unchecked GEOBASE box circled

Step 2: Select Treatment filter, then General Review option

Compendex with Treatment Filter and General Review option circled


If you search Compendex alone by unchecking both INSPEC & GEOBASE, you will see an option for Literature Review as a Treatment type

Compendex only search with Treatment type and Literature Review option circled


If you search INSPEC alone by unchecking both Compendex & GEOBASE, you will see an option for Bibliography as a Treatment type.

INSPEC only search with Treatment type and Bibliography option circled

Reviews in Medline

EbscoHost version: check the "Review Articles" box in the limit search options below the text search box.

FirstSearch version: in one of the lines of paired search boxes, type review in the left text box and from the drop-down menu in the right box, select "Article Type Phrase".