Construction Management Research Guide

I. Select A Topic

You need to have a specific topic selected before you begin searching for information in the library. If you need help in selecting a topic there are a few ideas listed below. If you need additional help ask at a reference desk in the library.

- Look in your course syllabus , your teacher may have given you a list of suggested topics for your research paper.

- Your textbook for the course is a good place to find topics that may be of interest to you. Look in the table of contents or the index.

- Talk with your teacher she/he can give you some good suggestions for an interesting topic.

- Do a title or keyword search on the Library OPAC using various terms you have thought of.


-At this point you need to select a topic that is specific enough for you to write a paper about.

-Now that you have a specific topic selected, you need to begin finding and reading some sources about your topic. From your reading, formulate a specific question statement or hypothesis that you intend to research and write about. Using the words in your question statement and other related words you are now ready to search the periodical (journal) databases to find references to articles on your question statement.

II. Search the Periodical (Journal) Literature

In the Sciences, the primary source of information is articles published in journals (or periodicals). The articles published in scientific journals are “peer reviewed”. This means, before an article is accepted for publication, each article is evaluated by one or more scientists who are well respected by their peers. Each journal has its own editorial board composed of these well respected scientists. Articles published in magazines (or journals) which are not “peer reviewed” often may not have accurate information in them. Be careful with web sites; many of them have very biased information. Web sites with “.edu” are usually reliable. Web sites with “.org” are usually biased towards the view point of the organization, except for scientific or scholarly societies. Web sites with “.com” are rarely scientific or scholarly. Web sites with “.gov” are usually reliable unless they are political in nature. The major source to use for finding references to journal articles is periodical databases. Searching in the appropriate database should be your first choice for finding references to journal articles. The following procedures will help you in finding journal articles on your topic.

Four steps to periodical literature research:

1. Choose the appropriate computer database . Look at the list of computer databases or periodical indexes listed in Section IV (beginning on page 6) or ask at the Science Reference Desk for suggestions. You can also go the Harold B. Lee Library Home Page and click on “Search by Discipline” and then click on Engineering & Technology; this will provide a list of subjects, under which you will find a list of suggested databases.

2. Search for your terms in a computer database related to your topic and find some references to articles on your topic . Print, download, or email, or write the following bibliographic information for each reference you want to find:

3. Determine whether the library has the periodical?

If the library has the periodical, you will find it by entering the title of the periodical in the search box on the “Journals & Magazines” search page which is under the “Search by Format” link on the BYU library home page . Try the Print Search Box first, if you do not find the journal there then try the Electronic Journal Finder box. Check your spelling if you have trouble locating the title. The print copy will have an entry in the BYU Library Catalog (OPAC) record that will include the call number where you can find the volumes of the print copy of the periodical. If the journal is available in electronic format you will find an “Electronic Version” note near the bottom of the OPAC record that will provide the URL which is a live link to get the full article. Information concerning which volumes or issues the library owns (library holdings) will also be displayed. All of the print periodicals, both bound volumes and current unbound issues are in the Periodical Room (PER) on level 2 of the new addition to the library. Ask for help at the Periodical Room Reference Desk if you cannot find the journal title or volume you are looking for.

If the library does not have the periodical you need, you can obtain a copy of the article through Interlibrary Loan, ( ILL ). You can submit ILL requests through a program called ILLiad . ILLiad can be accessed from the Library Home Page by clicking on the Interlibrary Loan option on the left side of the screen. You will be asked to enter your BYU NetID and password. If you have previously registered for ILL you will see the ILLIAD screen. If you have not previously registered, you will see the information boxes to fill out to be registered for ILL. Once you are on the ILLIAD home page you can select the type of request you want to make and enter the information for the article or book you want to obtain. There is no cost for an ILL request. Most journal article requests will be available in 2-4 days. Requests for books may take 10 days or longer. You will be notified by e-mail when your article or book is available. Copies of pages requested will be digitized and will be available from the ILLIAD screen under the heading “Review Requests”; on the right side of the menu will be an option to “View/ Download Electronically Received Articles”. Click on this link and the articles you have requested will be listed on the screen; you can then click on the request number to the left of the item requested and the article will appear on the screen. You will have to pick up copies of books requested at the ILL Office on level 3 of the library.

4. Locate the periodical in the Lee Library.

All periodicals the BYU library has are located in the Periodicals Room on level 2 in the New Addition to the Library. Both bound and unbound volumes are in the Periodical Room. Volumes from 1987 to the present, including new issues not yet bound, are on the left (west) side of the Periodical Room, and volumes from 1986 and older are on the right (east) side of the Periodical Room. If your volume is not on the shelf, look on the wood book shelves by the concrete pillars in the Periodical Room. If you still can not find the volume you want then ask for help at the Periodical Room Reference Desk.

5. You should check to see if any articles you find, which are directly related to your topic, have references to additional articles. You should check these additional articles to see if they have any useful information or more good references.

III. Suggestions for Searching Databases

1. There are various ways to search the databases available through the Harold B. Lee Library home page. Most databases can be searched by Author, Title, Subject, and Keyword. Many of the databases can also be searched in other ways, such as English language, or type of publication.

2. Most databases provide a way to review your search history that will allow you to see the combination of terms you have searched with and the number of references that were found. You can use these previous search sets to refine your search to be more specific or more general. You can combine search sets together, or you can combine a search set and other terms together using “and, “or', or “not”, etc.

IV. Computer Resources

1. HAROLD B. LEE LIBRARY Home Page –-The URL is This site will allow you to search the following resources:

LIBRARY CATALOG: --you can search BYU's online catalog, which lists all of our books and journals, and other materials.

OTHER LIBRARY CATALOGS :--You can also search library catalogs of the University of Utah, Utah State University, RLIN, and other libraries. This option is listed under the “Other Libraries” option on the left side of the Library Homepage.

There are some other options on the left side of the Library Home Page that will provide additional links to find more information on your topic.

Search by Discipline: --This option gives a list of the colleges on campus, and under each college is a list of subject categories; these subjects mostly match academic department names. Click on the subject you are looking for and you will then see a list of specific databases and other resources that are relevant to the subject you chose. Those databases which you can search on your own will have a “Connect” option to the right of the database name. To search those databases which do not have “Connect”, you can click on the “Description” link and an information box will appear that will inform you where in the library you must go to search the database.

All Resources; -- Near the bottom of the “Search By Discipline” menu is a link to “All Resources”; you can use this option if you already know the title of a database. When you see the title screen there is a line near the top that lists all the letters in the alphabet; click on the first letter of the first word in the title of the database you want, then click on the “Connect” link to the right of the database name to connect to the database.

All Disciplines :--Also near the bottom of the “Search by Discipline” list is a link to an alphabetic list of all subjects. Near the top of the subject list screen is a line with all the letters of the alphabet; you can click on the letter of the first word of the subject you want and a list of all subjects with that word will appear. You can then click on the subject and a list of all resources for that subject will appear and you can then click on the “Connect” link to the right of the database and this will get you into the database to begin searching.

Some of the databases and a brief description are listed below:

Applied Science & Technology Abstracts -- Applied Science and Technology Abstracts, produced by the H.W. Wilson Company, contains references to articles from more than 560 English-language, scientific and technical publications. It covers the years from 1983 to the present.

Engineering Village-- Covers the years 1970+ and provides indexing and abstracts of the world's engineering literature in all fields of engineering. The database includes journal articles, conference papers and technical reports. Sources for the records are from over five thousand journals, conference proceedings and reports. As of the year 2004 there are over six million records in the database and it is updated weekly.

Web of Science - The Web of Science accesses the Science Citation Index (SCI), Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), and Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI) databases, article references in these databases are gathered from over 8,500 scholarly journals. Searches for records by topic, author, source title, author address, cited author, cited work, and cited year can be performed separately or combined. Articles are linked to other articles of the same topic. Some article references have links to the full text of the article. The database is updated weekly and covers the years 1984 to present.

Cambridge Scientific/Environmental Sciences and Materials Science —Includes a group of several databases covering topics on engineering materials including metals and related research and also environmental topics. It indexes conference papers and journals and some books and government publications. It indexes about 5,000 publications. It covers the years 1966 to present.

SAE Digital Library -- The SAE Digital Library cites mobility information used in designing, building, maintaining, and operating self-propelled vehicles for use on land or sea, in air or space. This database is built on the SAE Global Mobility Database (GMD) which contains more than 85,000 bibliographic citations with abstracts for everything ever published by SAE and includes links to the full text of all SAE Technical Papers published from 1998 through the present. Dates of coverage is 1906-present (full-text from 1998); and the update frequency is daily.

2. Librarian Assisted Research Services

Through this service you can have a search done which will provide references to articles in scholarly and technical journals, proceedings, and other technical publications. We use the DIALOG search service to search through a potential of hundreds of databases. Information obtained through a DIALOG search can be printed or downloaded to a disk (or both), or sent to your e-mail. From the results of your search you must then look on the Library home page under “Search by Format” and then “Journals and Magazines” to see if the BYU Library has the publications you need; if not, you can use ILL to get copies of articles you need. Anyone can have a DIALOG search done on Engineering topics by contacting Richard Jensen in room 2324 HBLL or phone 422-6012; you can leave a message on my phone mail and I will return your call. There is no cost for doing DIALOG searches. Some advantages to doing a DIALOG search are that many databases can be searched simultaneously; the duplicate references between the databases can be removed from your search results; and these searches only take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

V. Printed Sources

There are printed reference sources in the Science Reference Collection on level two of the library near the Science/Maps Reference Desk. In the call numbers T-TS you will find most of the engineering materials. You will find encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, and related types of publications that will provide short summaries of information on various engineering topics.

In these same call numbers in the regular bookshelves you will find thousands of monographs (books) on your topics.