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EGR 212, Transport Phenomena: Search Techniques

Key word search

Use Boolean logic to narrow, broaden, or refine the search results.

  • AND
    • Intersection
    • Search for two terms or phrases in the same document
    • Example: "nuclear rocket engine" AND history

  • OR
    • Inclusion
    • Search for either term or phrase separately as well as together
    • Example: 
      • impact OR usage

  • NOT
    • Exclusion
    • Remove the search term or phrase from the results
    • Example:  "nuclear rocket engine" NOT airplane


  • Phrase searching (using quotations around phrases)
    • Examples: 
      • "nuclear rocket engine" specific term
      • "nuclear thermal hydraulics" book title
  • Truncation:  Search for variations in a word by using an asterisk
    • Examples:
      • therm*
        • thermal
        • thermodynamics
        • thermodynamic
      • encyclop*dia
        • encyclopedia
        • encyclopaedia
  • Parenthesis:  Grouping key search terms/phrases
    • Examples:
      • "nuclear rocket engine" AND (history OR evol*)
      • "nuclear rocket engine" AND (thermodynamics OR dynamics OR hydraulics)


Using Google N-gram

If I'm unsure of how the terminology of an engineering system has changed over time, I'll first look at the etymology of the word using the Online Etymology Dictionary at  Then, I'll take the words and use Google N-gram to see how the usage of each of the terms has changed over time.  You can scroll down to the bottom of the results page on Google N-gram and click on the link for each term to find additional resources.

Example:  Automobile

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Using Library of Congress subject headings can help narrow or broaden your search as well as identify specific key words that will be using conducting your research.  Move from a broad to a specific topic.  Review the "Subject of Works" for historical/foundational resources.

Topical Search

Science Direct includes a topical index which separates topics by field.  Each entry includes excerpts from scholarly articles, books, books chapters, encyclopedias, and other resources produced by Elsevier.  If you locate a pertinent resource, search for the title on the ZSR library website.  If needed, request access to the resource using interlibrary loan.