Here are some reliable sources that engineering students can consider using for their papers:
Peer-reviewed journals: These are academic journals where research articles are reviewed and verified by experts prior to publication. Some top engineering journals include Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Proceedings of the IEEE. Articles published in peer-reviewed journals go through a rigorous review process to ensure findings are validated and methodology is sound. As such, these journals are considered very reliable sources for engineering papers.
Conference proceedings: Major engineering conferences are a great place for new research to be shared and debated among experts. Papers published in conference proceedings are also typically peer-reviewed. Some prominent engineering conferences include the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress, American Control Conference, International Solid-State Circuits Conference, and ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture. Proceedings from such reputed conferences make for authoritative sources.
University studies and white papers: Research conducted at leading engineering universities often culminates in technical reports, working papers, or white papers. While not peer-reviewed like journal articles, reports published by reputed university departments or research centers provide research-backed expertise. Some examples are MIT reports, Stanford white papers, University of Michigan technical reports, and Technical Reports from CMU. The affiliation provides credibility.
Standards and recommended practices: Standard bodies like IEEE, ASME, ASTM International, and SAE International publish standards, recommended practices, and design guides that outline best practices in various engineering fields. These documents represent consensus of experts and end users. Referencing from standards documents lends support to claims regarding design, safety or performance.
Government and agency databases: Government agencies and industry bodies often fund or conduct large-scale studies pertaining to technology, infrastructure, public policy etc. Reports and data published by agencies like NSF, NASA, DOE, EPA etc. are based on rigorous research and represent authoritative information. Databases maintained by such organizations provide large datasets for analysis.
Patents: While patents themselves cannot be cited as sources, the detailed background sections of patents filed by major corporations or inventors provide information on the state-of-the-art and limitations of existing technologies. It helps establish context and motivation for further innovation. Patents from leaders like IBM, Intel, GM etc. indicate rigor in R&D.
Technical manuals and handbooks: References works published by reputed professional societies and standards developers provide specifications and design information backed by extensive testing and vetting. Examples are materials data books from ASM International, machinery’s handbook from Industrial Press, and various CRC handbooks.
Reviewing multiple sources across these categories would allow engineering students to triangulate facts, draw reliable conclusions, and gain a balanced perspective for their research papers. While avoiding non-peer reviewed websites, blogs and opinion pieces, these authoritative sources can help make an impactful research paper.