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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Writing in Engineering - ENGIN 351

Choosing a Topic

When choosing a topic for a class assignment or research project, start brainstorming with these questions:

  • What (emerging) technology interests you?
  • How is this technology being used in the field?
  • What should engineers consider when designing for this use?
  • How might public policy or industry standards affect how this technology is developed?

Explore current trends in engineering and technology in IEEE Spectrum Magazine (open IEEE Xplore linked below and choose IEEE Spectrum in the blue bar across the top of the page ),

or MIT Technology Review, Gale in Context: Environmental Studies, or Chemical & Engineering News.

Browse or search topics in encyclopedias listed on the Books & background information page.

For industry standards, see the Standards page on this guide.

Create a search strategy

A search strategy is the combination of keywords and synonyms you choose and the way you connect them with AND, OR, and NOT (also known as “Boolean operators”).

Developing a Search Strategy is a handout that will lead you through this process with examples.

For example, you are interested in learning about design consideration for mitigating lightning strikes on offshore wind turbinesBy breaking this question into concepts, we get the Boolean search query below:

(lightning) AND (mitigation OR protection) AND (offshore) AND (wind turbine)

Acknowledgement: This handout was created by Sarah Lucchesi while working at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.