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Weapons, Robotics and Control Engineering

Use this guide to find books, articles, reports and websites related to weapons, robotics, and control engineering

Getting Started with Background Research

Register for Interlibrary Loan

This allows you to request books, articles and more outside of our collections. Click the First Time User Registration link to sign up.

Create a research log

Stay organized by keeping track of your research. A simple spreadsheet is one way of recording the search terms and documents you found useful. The last thing you need is to find a great article and then forget where you found it! A research log will also show how your searching has evolved over time.

Check in with your librarian

After you’ve started researching, get in touch with me and let me know how you’re doing. I’m here to help.


This isn’t easy!

This type of research is likely new to you. It can be frustrating and repetitive, and that’s completely normal. Don’t forget that you can ask for help if you feel stuck.

Research matters

Finding background information provides context, justifies your project, supports decision making, identifies research gaps and shows your project hasn’t been done before.

Read strategically

Technical papers and journal articles aren’t always easy to read. They present complex ideas and use technical language. Focus on reading the abstract or summary, introduction, conclusion and figures to get a sense of what the article is about and how it might be useful for you.

Technical reports document research project processes and results in organized formats. The following are good places to start looking for technical reports:

Trade publications are written and published for professionals who work and practice in specific fields. The following databases all include trade publications in their respective coverage lists

The World Intellectual Property Organization describes a patent as:

"... an exclusive right granted for an invention. In other words, a patent is an exclusive right to a product or a process that generally provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application."

You can find patents through the following links:

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) describes standards as "documents that provide requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose."

You can find standards, specifications and suppliers through the following resources:

Brainstorming Prompts

What do you need to know in order to solve your specific problem?

Break down your project into smaller ideas and concepts or think of different ways to describe your project elements. Researchers may refer to elements of your project in different terms.

For example

  • soda and pop
  • additive manufacturing or 3D printing.

Who else might care about your problem?

Thinking of other researchers, organizations or groups that are interested in the problem you want to solve can inform where you search.

For example, if the Navy would be interested in your topic, try searching DTIC, the Defense Technical Information Center.



Kelly Durkin Ruth's picture
Kelly Durkin Ruth
Engineering Librarian
Nimitz Library #211