UCB Libraries

GEOG 2412: Environment and Culture

  • Introduction
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Evaluate & Cite Sources

 

Introduction

Hi. How are you? Good. Us too. If you're reading this you're in the right place, and, well, you might as well continue on. Research is challenging, hard, and time consuming. It's also something you will have to do for the rest of your life, so get used it. Or, better yet, get good at it.

 

For this project, you'll be doing interdisciplinary research, covering your topic from several different angles. Here's Paul Robbins discussing the challenges of interdisciplinary research for the University of Wisconsin's alumni publication, In Common:

 

 

 

Getting Started.

Once you've determined a topic, issue or subject of interest, you'll need to narrow the topic into a researchable question. Here are some helpful tips:

 

Choosing appropriate search terms is an important first step in the research process. Take a few moments to brainstorm a list of keywords that describe your topic.

Brainstorm about your topic. Identify related issues, people, events, etc.

List what you already know about your topic, and what you'd like to know.
Identify main concepts and keywords related to your topic. Make a list.
Determine what perspective you'll take on your topic.

 

Encyclopedias: Saving Time since 1751

Spending a little time with background sources and encyclopedias at the beginning of your search process can save you time in the long run. They can give you the big picture before you start getting into really granular articles, help you see what experts are talking about your topic, and often help you find great books and articles.

 

Greenr

This source combines encyclopedia-style overviews of environmental issues with search results for articles, magazines, newspapers, and more.

 

Gale Virtual Reference

This source allows you to search across encyclopedia articles in many disciplines, including environmental studies, geography, and economics.

 

The Norlin Library and the Earth Sciences Library contains numerous encylopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks relevant to this course. Feel free to browse the collection to see what is available. Here are just a handful of the kinds of sources you'll find:

 

 

 

Chinook

Chinook is the catalog for materials owned by the CU Libraries. You can do a title search for a specific book, or a keyword search if you are looking for books on a particular topic. You can also use MyChinook to manage your library account (including renewals, holds, recalls, saved searches, etc.)

Chinook Catalog

When searching Chinook, you can connect your keywords using terms like AND, OR, NOT. You can also used parentheses, quotation marks, and asterisks.

 

Operators:

Punctuation:

AND: sea turtles AND conservation
(finds both terms)

Phrases: “sea turtles” (finds phrase in that order)

OR: sea turtles OR turtles (finds one of the terms)

Synonyms: (sea turtles OR turtles) AND conservation

NOT: performance NOT theater (finds first term and not the second term)

Wildcards: conservation* will find conservation, conservationism, conservationists, etc.

 

Prospector
If you search Chinook and find that the CU Libraries do not have the item you are looking for (or if the item you are looking for is checked out), you can search Prospector, which is a combined library catalog of 23 libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. CU students, staff and faculty can request materials through Prospector, and the items will generally be delivered to Norlin within a few business days.

 

WorldCat

WorldCat is an online catalog for over 9,000 libraries in the US and world wide, and it allows you to do a more thorough search than Chinook because you are not limited to only the items we already own. Instead, you are effectively searching the catalogs of most major libraries world wide.

 

For any books you find in WorldCat, you will be able to see if CU-Boulder owns that item. If you find something in WorldCat that we do not own, you should:

  1. Search Prospector to see if the book is available. If it is, request it via Prospector. The book will typically arrive in a few days, and you'll receive an email when it is ready for pick up.
  2. If the book isn't available via Prospector, you can request it via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Please be aware that items ordered via ILL can take up to several weeks to arrive. Obviously, if your assignment is due very soon, this will not be an option.

 

Interlibrary Loan
If the item you are looking for is not in Chinook or Prospector, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Generally, an ILL request will take longer to be delivered than material requested through Prospector.

 

 

Accessing Resources from Off Campus
To use databases off campus, make sure to access them via the library web page. Learn more about how to access resources off campus.

 

Choosing a Database

Databases are the best way to discover articles on your topic. The library provides access to hundreds of databases, and many of them focus on specific disciplines.

 

The Find Articles page provides access to all of these resources and arranges them by subject. Because of the interdiscplinary nature of your research, you might have to search in disciplines outside of Geography.

 

Relevant Databases for Your Assignment

Academic Search Premier
This multi-disciplinary databases provides full text coverage of magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals for nearly all academic areas of study - including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies.

 

GeoRef

This database provides access to over 3 million references to journal articles, books, maps, conference papers, reports, theses, and dissertations in the geosciences.

 

Environmental Science & Pollution Management
This multi-disciplinary resource provides access to information on all aspects of the human impact on the environment. It indexes scholarly, government and general publications.

 

 

 

How to (Critically) Evaluate Information

Conducting quality research is challenging, especially when there is so much garbage out there. Here is just a brief list of questions to consider when you're looking at the information you find.

 

Authority: Who is the author? What are their credentials? Are they cited by other scholars in the field? Have they published other works on the topic? Has your instructor mentioned them?

Date of Publication: When was the source published? Is it current for your topic? Or out of date? This will vary depending on what your topic is.

Audience: Who is the intended audience the author is addressing? Reseachers, experts or the general public? Does the source fit your needs? Is it too advanced? Too elementary?
Relevance: How does this relate to my topic? Is it the best fit for the perspectives I'm taking and the object I'm analyzing?

Point of view (bias): Does the source have a bias? Is the information objective and impartial? What is being presented--facts, opinions, assumptions?

 

 

Tips for Evaluating Sources: a helpful resource explaining what to look for and what to lookout for.

 

Cite. Because it will feel right.

Why Cite? Because:

  • Because plagarism is real and it won't make you feel good if you're accused of it.
  • Because it's your chance to participate in the scholarly conversation.
  • Because pointing to your evidence makes your argument stronger.

You'll be using APA style to cite, so try some of these resources if you have questions:

 

Need assistance with your writing?

The CU Writing Center is here to help you with your writing. Questions about structure, citation, grammar? Go there and take advantage of it. Do yourself a favor (and Professor Hickcox) and make an appointment with a consultant at the Writing Center allows.

 

 

 

 

How to (Critically) Evaluate Information

Condcting quality research is challenging, especially when there is so much garbage out there. Here is just a brief list of questions to consider when you're looking at the information you find

 

Authority: Who is the author? What are their credentials? Are they cited by other scholars in the field? Have they published other works on the topic? Has your instructor mentioned them?

Date of Publication: When was the source published? Is it current for your topic? Or out of date? This will vary depending on what your topic is.

Audience: Who is the intended audience the author is addressing? Reseachers, experts or the general public? Does the source fit your needs? Is it too advanced? Too elementary?
Point of view (bias): Does the source have a bias? Is the information objective and impartial? What is being presented--facts, opinions, assumptions?

 

Cite. Because it will feel right.

Why Cite? Because plagarism is real and it won't make you feel good if you're accused of it. So use these resources to avoid that conversation:

Chicago Manual of Style

 

Purdue OWL Chicago Manual of Style

 

Purdue OWL MLA Style

 

Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age Chicago Style

 

Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age MLA Style

 

Still have more questions? For more information, visit the How do I...Cite? Citation Styles and Management page.

 

Need assistance with your writing?

The CU Writing Center is here to help you with your writing. Questions about structure, citation, grammar? Go there and take advantage of it. Do yourself a favor (and Abby) and make an appointment with a consultant at the Writing Center allows.