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Environment & Sustainability

Students working on laptops in mezzanine.Forming your Search String

The more complicated your question, the less likely a search engine can understand it. To get the best result, identify keywords and like terms to create a search string.

Example research question: What is the impact of biofuel production on indigenous communities in North America?

Keywords: biofuel production, indigenous communities, North America

Like terms can include synonyms and also examples of your keywords. If you don't get results from searching your keywords, it doesn't mean that the research doesn't exist. It could mean that the researcher used different language to describe the same topic

  • Biofuel production: Biogas, Renewable Diesel, Bioenergy
  • Indigenous communities: Native American, First Nations, Inuit, Dine
  • North America: Mexico, United States, Canada

Search strings connect your keywords and like terms together for the best results.

Too many results? Use AND to narrow results

biofuel production AND indigenous communities AND North America

Too few results? Use OR to broaden results

biofuel production OR renewable diesel production AND indigenous communities OR First Nations AND North America OR Mexico OR United States OR Canada

students reading in front of periodical display

Also known as peer-reviewed articles, scholarly articles are sources that are:

  • written by experts in the field
  • reviewed by other experts in the field (hence the peer-reviewed)
  • intended for an academic audience

While you can find scholarly articles through general search engines, databases contain a feature where you can narrow your results to only scholarly articles.

Find Subject-Specific Articles:

Find Articles in Multidisciplinary Databases:

Student thumbing through a book in front of library stacks

Books and eBooks often provide a broader overview and cover more information than a scholarly journal article.

You don't need to read an entire book to use it in your research. Use the index at the back of a book to find the information you need.

To find books and eBooks, you can either:

  • Search the NOBLE catalog
  • Browse the stacks for a book related to your topic

GE1‑350          Environmental sciences
GE70‑90             -Environmental education
GE170‑190         -Environmental policy
GE195‑199         -Environmentalism.                                             Green movement
GE300‑350         -Environmental                                                    management

TD1-1066        Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering

Government & Data Sources

If you find an article or book that you can't access, don't pay for it! Instead, submit an inter-library loan (ILL) request, and you'll receive articles within a few days!

Are you looking for a specific article, like an article that you found referenced in a bibliography? Search for the journal in Journal Finder, linked below: