Find Background Information
You may find this worksheet useful as you work through the research process.
In the course of your research, you may encounter topics that are unfamiliar to you. Reading a little about these topics in general reference sources is a great way to get a good overview.
Here are several highly recommended resources for the environmental sciences:
"Each single-themed, 12,000-word report ... provides researchers with an introductory overview; background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources."
Annual Review of Environment and Resources
"The Annual Review of Environment and Resources, in publication since 1976, provides authoritative reviews of significant topics within environmental science and engineering, including ecology and conservation science, water and energy resources, atmosphere, oceans, climate change, agriculture and living resources, and human dimensions of resource use and global change."
The Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Environmental Change, 2003
GE 10 .E524 2003, Hesburgh Library reference collection
"This book is a comprehensive ... companion for any student of the environment, physical geography or the earth sciences throughout their course. Containing everything from definitions of physical features such as glaciers to discussions of the causes and impacts of climatic change, via the El Nino effect, soils and rivers, it contains an incredible range of information.... The book is accessibly written by an international team of authors and is clearly presented, with extensive cross-referencing throughout to make the information easy to access."
Encyclopedia of Environment and Society
"The Encyclopedia of Environment and Society brings together multiplying issues, concepts, theories, examples, problems, and policies, with the goal of clearly explicating an emerging way of thinking about people and nature. With more than 1,200 entries written by experts from incredibly diverse fields, this innovative resource is a first step toward diving into the deep pool of emerging knowledge."
Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues (3 vols.), 2000
GE 10 .E52 2000 Hesburgh Library reference collection
"The Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues contains 475 alphabetically arranged articles that range in length from five hundred to three thousand ords. All articles are signed by the academics and other experts who wrote hem. They cover a wide variety of topics, including air pollution, national parks, environmental legislation, oil spills, and solar power."
McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science and Technology
"Includes approximately 150 articles from 200 leaders in their respective fields covering technical disciplines from Agriculture to Zoology. Covers such topics as bioterrorism, electric power systems, extreme programming, HIV vaccines, human impact on vertebrate extinction, polymers for micro-electronics, and Voice-over IP. Includes 225 images and two-color illustrations and references of key literature after each article."
Although not as current as journal articles, books are an important part of the research process as they provide the most comprehensive coverage of a topic at the time of publication. Books can be found by using the University of Notre Dame Libraries catalog (ALEPH) http://lib.nd.edu/.