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Science encyclopedias are often useful for finding a topic. You can find a list of environmental science encyclopedias under the "home" tab; these encyclopedias are located in Boatwright Library's reference collection.
Newspapers may provide very current information on an environmental issue or concern. Newspaper Source Plus is an excellent source for newspaper articles and TV news transcripts.
Books from the library catalog may be an excellent source for topics. Search the catalog to find a call number area that you may use to browse the shelves -- either electronically or by actually visiting the print collection. Many catalog records have a "Reviews and More" link that gives you the table of contents which can help you narrow your topic.
Wikipedia (wikipedia.org) is frequently an excellent source for information on very current topics. However, as Wikipedia is an "open" source, you should be wary of the actual information it provides.
Researching a topic in a discipline that you are unfamiliar with can often be a confusing and frustrating process. Here are some tips to get started with your research:
Encyclopedias may help you with unfamiliar terms and concepts. You can find a list of environmental science encyclopedias under the "home" tab above.
Access Science - the online version of The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology - may help you with a basic understanding of your topic.
Science dictionaries may be helpful in understanding the scientific terminology. Try using The Dictionary of Environmental Science and Technology in Boatwright's reference collection (REF GE10 .P67). General science dictionaries are located in the REF Q120's.
Use the UR Catalog to identify any books the library owns on your topic. Besides providing information on your topic, the books' bibliographies will also provide other information sources to consult.
If you are unable to identify a book on your specific topic, broaden your subject search and then use the catalog to gain electronic access to the Table of Contents. Often a book will provide one or more chapters on a narrower topic.
Since environmental science topics cover a wide breadth of
disciplines, you may need to use a variety of databases to identify
journal articles. Here are some general databases that will get you
started on some basic research in environmental studies:
Condensed summaries of important developments in numerous topics relating to sustainability
Reports; Additional Information: In-depth, current reports on a variety of sustainability topics, useful either as starting points for research or for keeping up with the latest developments in the field. Executive summaries are followed by brief sections specific to the individual topics, and extensive reference lists are provided.
Comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary resource containing a large number of peer-reviewed journals.
This is good place to start for most topics, including all sciences, religion, law, history, psychology, political science, criminal justice, literature, current events, sociology and communications.
Abstracts and full-text for most journal articles; Varies by title many from 1980s-present
Covers the areas of sustainability, policy, and environmental studies with background and primary source information and linked scholarly content from the web.
Case studies, academic journals, news, and videos; 1980 - present
Refining your search
To use more discipline-specific databases, you may want to choose from the ones listed under the "databases" tab in this guide. For example, if you are researching the health hazards of lead paint, you may want to use Medline for medical information.
You may also want to check databases in disciplines such as history or political science that are not covered specifically by any of these databases. Use the library's Subject Guides in those areas to identify useful databases.
Ask for help! My contact information is listed on the right. However, if I'm unavailable and you need immediate help, contact the Main Service Desk in Boatwright by either phone (x8669), email, IM from the library's website, or visit in person.