Literature Searches

A fundamental research skill is searching the literature for relevant papers. The following are starting points for finding more recent literature on the same subject. The library can give you a more complete introduction to their research facilities; see "How-to & Help" on the library website. All descriptions of search results are from August 2013 and may well have changed by now.

Library Resources

The Queen's Library has electronic subscriptions to many journals in many fields, and a portal for accessing many search engines and article databases. Some journals allow you to retrieve .pdf files for entire articles -- as long as you are acccessing their sites via a computer on the Queen's network.

The two main starting points for your search are

Google Scholar

Google Scholar gives results based on full-text search of article contents; its "advanced search" (available after you make an initial query with the basic search) has a few features for limiting the search but lacks the full boolean query features of most of the databases accessible through the library web page. From on campus you can use the "Get It @ Queen's" feature for retrieving full text .pdfs from journals for which Queen's has a subscription.

The first reading assignment is to locate the paper "On the Criteria to be Used in Decomposing Systems into Modules" by David L. Parnas, read it, and answer a set of questions.

Citation Searches

I selected the readings for this course to cover fundamental concepts in software design methodology, which typically means that papers are old (1972 in the case of the Parnas paper, for example). One way to find more recent material is to use a citation list, which is the inverse of a reference list. This is one reason why going through a search engine is better than just retrieving the paper; most databases have forward and backward links to related papers.


Questions? Contact the instructor.
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