Western Libraries

ECE 9608 / SE 4450

This page contains information and links to resources that will help you with the literature review for your ECE9608 article or critical analysis report.  For help at any point, contact Qinqin Zhang.

Presentation slides for the SE4450 library session on September 17, 2013

If you are not on campus, start by logging in for off-campus access (to the left).

  1. What is a literature review? [pdf]
  2. Reading and Writing an Article
  3. Writing your Literature Review
  4. Citing your References / Avoiding Plagiarism
  5. Finding Information for your Project

Reading and writing an Article

Taylor Library’s tutorial on reading articles
Tutorial video on how to read a scholarly article is also available

Taylor Library’s tutorial on writing your own paper:


Take notes as you read!

Use a Synthesis Matrix.

Example of a Synthesis Matrix (developed by North Carolina State University)

Efficiency of solar cells made of various materials


Paper 1

Paper 2

Paper 3

Paper 4

Main Theme/Idea 1:
Preferred materials

Note/information and page number

cadmium telluride (page 312)

copper-indium selenide (page 1209)

polycrystalline silicon (page 54)

Main Theme/Idea 2: Efficiency of solar cell

Leave blank if a paper does not discuss a main idea

12% under STP (page 65)

15% (page 1215)

22% at 45 degrees Celsius (page 56)

Main Theme/Idea 3:
Use of thin-film solar cells

Also make a note if an author does not agree with the main idea

depending on application, can be preferred (page 320)

cannot be used above 50 degrees Celsius (page 1213)

not preferred - cost to efficiency of silicon is higher (page 59)


Citing your references / AVOIDING PLAGIARISM

Finding information for your project

Search Strategy Worksheet [pdf]

General Search Strategies:
  • Select keywords from your research topic
  • Find synonyms or related terms for each of the keywords you identified above.
  • Use Boolean operators to connect your keywords (AND, OR, NOT)
  • Select search tools (library catalogue, databases, etc.)
  • Conduct your search
  • Review your search results and revise your search

If you are new to your topic or would like to start by reading some more general background information, here are some good places to start:

Find trade publication articles using:
Find scholarly journal articles using:

Find Patents:

 Free resources - links to databases, journals, patents, standards that you can access free of charge (also useful after you graduate).