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ENCS 282 Resources

Writing the Literature Review for a project proposal

Preparing your search

Writing a literature review for a project proposal gives the readers background information or the perspective necessary to understand the project. Background information, which can be found in books or journal articles, can look at whether your problem or a similar problem has been investigated in the past.

Before starting the search for background information, it's important to start the research process with the steps described in the YouTube videos below.

Searching for books

Books can provide good background information, and in depth analysis of a topic.


Searching for articles

Below are useful databases for a project proposal literature review 

  • Engineering databases:
    These databases cover the latest research in all engineering fields

Searching for patents

Patents can be excellent sources of information for related designs and products as well as current technologies.

Google Patent Search

  • Google Patent Search facilitates keyword searching of over 7 million US patents. Also includes patents from WIPO and the European Patent Office.
Patent Searches by Country

Searching for cost information

Costing information could be important when choosing components, outlining a budget, or understanding current prices for services or parts. Here are a few sources of costing information:

Product literature (i.e. supplier catalogues)

  • Product literature, such as supplier or manufacturer catalogues, can provide costs for components, parts or entire systems.

Construction cost data (Canada & US)

  • RSMeans Estimating Handbook (2009) provides technical data required to estimate costs for major construction projects, including sizing, productivity, equipment requirements, code-mandated specifications, design standards, and engineering factors. 

      Tip: You can adjust for inflation in order to get costs for current year.

  • Hanscomb's Yardsticks for Costing (in print in the Webster library) that contains cost data for the Canadian construction industry. Details constructions costs for eight major regions in Canada and includes market unit costs, composite unit rates, and gross building costs


Labour Costs


Newspaper, Magazine or Trade journal articles

  • Newspaper or magazine articles can be great sources of costing information. Journalists often uncover construction or service costs paid by government. Trade journals can also be a good location to find suppliers or manufacturers in an industry. Once identified, these suppliers' websites may allow you to find costing information. Note: If searching Google or news databases to find costing information in Québec, you may need to use French keywords. 
  • Engineering News Record Magazine: publishes biweekly construction cost data from the United States. Follow these steps to find the most recent data:
    1. Go to Business Source Complete
    2. In the first search box, enter "ENR: Engineering News-Record", and then select the "SO Publication Name" from the drop-down menu
    3. In the second search box, enter "construction economics", and then select the "TI Title" from the drop-down menu

Searching for other information

There are many other types of information that could be useful when writing a project proposal. Here are some examples:


Preparing a bibliography

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