Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Electrical & Electronics Engineering

Subject guide to Engineering resources for study or research of the subject

Selecting the Best Sources

Where can I search for useful resources?

Where to search


Popular sources for information

Google vs Google scholar vs Find@HKUL vs Databases


  • cover a lot of information, including non-academic or unreliable resources

Google Scholar



  • for specific types of information, e.g. electronic articles, newspapers, law cases, statistics etc.
  • in-depth search
  • subject-specific
  • allow sophisticated search strategies

Useful Search Skills

How can I search for resources effectively?

Boolean operators

A. Learn the tips and tricks
Boolean operators, Truncation, Phrase search
Tip & Trick Function Example
AND Connect different concepts
(Both terms to appear)
health AND smoking
OR Combine synonyms
(Either of the terms to appear)
smoking OR tobacco OR cigarettes
NOT Exclude a term  energy NOT nuclear
Wildcard ? Search variant spelling  customi?ation >  customisation, customization
Truncation * cigar* > cigar, cigars, cigarette, cigarettes
( ) Group terms cancer AND (smoking OR tobacco OR cigar*)
" " Search for an exact phrase genetically modified

Note: Symbols may vary among different databases. Check each database's help page for more information if needed.

B. Do it step-by-step

1. Identify the keywords of your research topic.

Topic: The relationship between fossil fuels and global warming

>> 1. fossil fuel

>> 2. global warming

2. Brainstorm or find out related concepts.

Keywords Related concepts
Fossil fuel


Crude oil


Natural gas

Global warming

Greenhouse effect

Climate change

3. Build your search query with the above tips and tricks.

(Fossil fuel OR Petroleum OR "Crude oil" OR Coal OR "Natural gas") AND ("Global warming" OR "Greenhouse effect" OR "Climate change")

4. Conduct a search in the desired database.

5. Apply different filters in the databases when needed.

6. Evaluate the search results.

Evaluatation of Information

How can I evaluate the information?



You can use the CRAPP Test to evaluate the information. Think about the following when you encounter a piece of information:

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or revised?
  • Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?  Examples:
    • .com (commercial),
    • .edu (educational),
    • .gov (government),
    • .org (nonprofit organization),
    • .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed by peer scholars in the field?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear impartial? biased?


Adapted from:

InfoLit for U

InfoLit for U Information Literacy MOOC

Want to learn even more on how to recognize when information is needed, and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information?

Join the Information Literacy MOOC — InfoLit for U, a self-paced, non-credit bearing MOOC designed by the library of all 8 UGC-funded universities in Hong Kong, which is suitable for students in all years of undergraduate study.