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ENSC 801: Methodological and Conceptual Basis for Environmental Studies


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Morag Coyne
Rm 512 Douglas Library
Queen's University
Kingston, ON.

Off-Campus Access

The online journals and databases available through the library will require off-campus authorization.  Use your Queen's netID and password to obtain access.  If you have trouble accessing any resources, please contact

In General...

This guide is designed to introduce you to information resources for ENSC 801, either licensed by the Queen's University Library or open access.  Contact liaison librarian Morag Coyne for more information about:

  • Information sources for your assignment or project
  • Obtaining resources not at Queen's
  • Designing better strategies for your information searches

Students are welcome to contact their librarian at any stage in their research process.

COVID-19 Updates on Library Services

Keep informed of the latest changes to Library services and operations due to the COVID-19 situation.  Updates include information on:

  • Access to library buildings
  • Access to collections and the curbside pickup program for print resources
  • Scanning services for print collections
  • Book return and loan renewal
  • Temporary access to new online resources
  • Library reserves and copyright
  • Remote teaching resources
  • Archives and Special Collections
  • Interlibrary loan

Research Roadmap

Step 1
  • Define the scope of your project.  Do you need to narrow your topic from a broad, general one?  If so, some things to consider:
    • How much has been written about your topic?  If it is a well-studied field, there will be plenty of literature in a wide variety of formats.  If it is a new topic or idea, there may be very little published about it.
    • Do you want to focus on a particular location, time period, technology, theory, person, group, project, or event? 
    • What do you already know about the topic?  What do you need to investigate?
    • Consider the individuals or groups or agencies who have a stake in your topic.  Who publishes information about this topic?  Where does their funding come from?
  • Start a list of keywords to use.  Terminology can change, so this list will need updating as you search.
  • Do background reading to find out more about your topic.
  • Try a general search in Omni to find out the range of books and ebooks published (important when examining a long-established field).
Step 2
  • Try an initial, very general search in library databases or Google Scholar.  Not sure which databases to use?  Contact your librarian for advice - this will save you time.
    • Filter by publication year - how long it the publishing history for this field?  Are there any publication trends?
    • Filter by controlled vocabulary  to see the categories for this topic - this is where you can start narrowing your topic, and gain more keywords/synonyms.
    • Filter by document type, e.g., to see if any review papers about your topic exist.
  • Start a list of key researchers, groups, agencies and labs.
  • Start a timeline for your literature review.
  • Keep track of the different search keywords and the databases you use. 
Step 3
  • Search specialized databases in depth for journal articles, technical reports, theses, etc.
  • Geobase, Academic Search Complete, Web of Science
    • Make use of these databases’ features, such as “cite by”, sorting, document type, and controlled vocabulary.
  • Make a list of the databases you have searched, and the keywords you used for each.
  • Check the reliability of your sources if unsure (e.g. Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory).
  • Use a method to manage your citations and use it throughout the search process, e.g. Zotero