UCB Libraries

ENVD 3300: Learning Space Design

Need additional assistance? Ask a Librarian right now, or Schedule a Research Consulation with the Art & Architecture Librarian.


  • Finding Articles
  • Building a Search
  • Evaluating Sources


Finding Articles

Your class spans many topics from design to education to medicine and beyond. You'll need a combination of subject specific and general databases to find the best articles .
Article Indexes

Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

The primary resource for architecture, environmental design, landscape, or planning articles. Covers both scholarly and popular journals. A great place to find example projects. You can use broad searches since all articles will be design related.


ERIC (Proquest)

The Educational Resource Information Center, or ERIC is the largest and most important database for education studies, government documents, lesson plans, etc.


Academic Search Premier

A great general database that includes thousands of journals from multiple disciplines. Use this database if the subject focused databases prove to be too limited.


Google Scholar

A very broad and general place to search for scholarly articles. You'll need the most specific search here. An advantage is you can see how many times an article has been cited. Use these links to find more scholarship on a topicIf you are on VPN or on campus, you'll get the Find it at CU links.


Depending on your topic you may want to search other databases focused on other subjects beyond education or architecture:

Check out all our databases organized by subject here.

Finding articles from Bibliographies and Citations

Search for the Journal Title in Chinook. If we have an electronic access to the journal, you'll see a list of databases and the years for which full text is available. Click through and find your article based on volume, number, or date.
Accessing Resources from Off Campus!
If you try to use the databases above and they ask you for a password, it's because you're off campus. In order to use the databases the library subscribes to, you either need to be on campus or you'll have to download, install, and run VPN software. For more information about VPN, please see the library's page on Off Campus Access.



Go on to Building Searches >>



Creating Keywords, Advancing your research

Your research will require thinking of as many possible keywords for your topics in order to expand your searches. If you don't find results, it may be because you're searching wrong. Try going for broader topics or adding synonyms. Building powerful searches is key to getting at the articles buried in databases.
Developing Keywords

Wherever you are searching you will want to develop good keywords. Check out the How do I Create Keywords guide to learn more about advanced keyword searching.



Think of all the other ways a topic, idea, or person could be referred to, don't forget foreign languages. Now that you know more about your topic, think of different ways to describe the same thing

ex: obesity, nutrition, physical activity

ex: built environment, school design, buildings



Putting phrases in quotations will weed out those results that are irrelevant, that just happen to use your search term, but in a different order, often changing the meaning.

ex: "school design" "built environment"


Truncation & Wildcards

Whenever a word has multiple endings add an asterisk at the end to search all variations.

ex: child* will return results with child, children, childhood


Boolean Searching (AND OR)

Power search by using Boolean to search many combinations of keywords at once. This means using OR to string together synonyms and connecting concepts with AND. Find out more here.

ex: ("school design OR "built environment") AND (obesity OR "physical activity")


Need Help Furthering your Research?

Want to speak with a librarian right now? You can contact us in person, via the phone, or even over IM. Use the Ask Us page to chat with a librarian even if you're away from campus.


Schedule a Research Consultation with a librarian to get in-depth help and guidance. I can help you overcome a roadblock in your research or with developing excellent keywords and search strategies.


Go on to Evaluating Sources>>


Evaluating Sources



Is it easy to tell who wrote the article? If not, it is likely not schlarly. Academic writing is almost always written by an identifiable author, if not multiple authors.


Now that you know who wrote it, who is this person? Do they have a university affiliation, have they written other articles on this topic?



What journal is the article in and who published it? Is it a scholarly journal in the discipline or is a popular magazine?

Peer Review

Is the journal peer reviewed? That is was the article deemed acceptable by other scholars. Most searches allow you to limit to peer-reviewed articles. Be careful though, not all articles in peer reviewed journals are peer-reviewed.

Includes Citations & Data
Does the article cite it's sources. If you don't find any citations the article is probably aimed at a general audience, and you won't be able to confirm the accuracy of its assertions. Also use the bibliography to find more resources and articles.


While not all articles include data, those that do can be very valuable. Ask yourself, Is the data statistically significant? Do the author's conclusions from the data make sense? What was the methodolgy and the sample size? Are the results generalizable? You can make your own conclusions from the article's charts and graphs.


What type of Article is it?

Is it an empirical study, is it a case study, or is it a review article, or something else? Try to determine what type of article you've got. Is the research quantitative or qualitative, do they have numbers or interviews? Or is it more of a theory article?


What's in the Abstract?

Does the abstract make the article seem relavant and useful? What can you gather?

Even if an article is scholarly, it might not be worth the your time if

The length of the article is very short, most databases will give you page numbers so don't kill yourself trying to find an article that is 1 page long.

It's out of date. Check the date the article was published, in a fast changing field an old article may no longer be relevant.