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Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering: ME 100

Strategies for finding information

An essential part of your engineering education is building your awareness and foundational knowledge of topics.  It's important to not make assumptions, and to fully understand concepts, techniques, material properties, and technologies that interlink and build upon each other making increasingly complex and advanced designs feasible.

Good engineers always double check their facts, and never assume that their first approach is the best or only way forward.  When you encounter a concept or term that's new to you or you're rusty on remembering, look them up in these authoritative sources.

Through doing this you grow your understanding, allowing you to more effectively search for specialized knowledge inside advanced resources like Scopus.  When reading these advanced papers you will encounter terms that are unfamiliar.  Rather than just going on ahead hoping you'll figure it out, pause, look up the term, then resume. This will allow you to not just read but comprehend and build useful knowledge.

Foundational Knowledge

Two excellent eBook collections containing in-depth overviews written by engineering experts, as well as essential resources such as Ashby charts, and engineering calculators for common equations are:

Specialized knowledge

The overarching Library Research Guide for Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering has several specialized resources you will become familiar with during your time here at UWaterloo.  For your projects in ME 100, Dr. Milne has selected the interdisciplinary database Scopus to help you practice and build the information skills you'll need.

Why citing your sources is important

Using high quality evidence in your engineering research, design, and practice is essential to acting with integrity.  Clearly showing the evidence you've utilized ensures your credibility, the safety of those who depend on your work, and your reputation.  Additionally, by properly citing your sources of information, you situate your work in larger engineering conversations to demonstrate how your work adds value, and fits within the collective body of knowledge.

Citation style guides

Depending on your area of research, you will be required to cite your evidence in a variety of different standardized citation formats.  These are known as "citation styles".  Citation style guides provide guidance and examples of how to correctly format your citations to align with the unique specifications of each citation style. 

  • To help you understand citation style requirements, the University of Waterloo's Library has gathered a list of citation style guides for you to consult.
  • Purdue University's Online Writing Lab is an additional resource you should consult.  In the left column, within the subheading "Research and Citation" there are several detailed citation style guides with in-depth examples.
  • University of Waterloo's Writing and Communication Centre has several online resources on their webpage, including several excellent citation style guides.
  • Utilizing reference management software is a great way to efficiently organize your research.  The University of Waterloo's Library has created a guide to help you get started with Zotero.

Citing your sources module

Proper citation of evidence is an integral part of being a STEM student.  The University of Waterloo's Library has created an online module, "Citing your Sources" to provide an overview of how to appropriately incorporate outside sources, including when and how to add citations to your work.