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Environmental Issues (SPE 125)

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Library Guide


Environmental Issues (SPE 125)

This guide introduces you to some of the different types of resources that can be used to conduct research on environmental issues for your small group debate. The guide will walk you through the initial steps of idea brainstorming to the next steps of deeper topic exploration once you have articulated a topic appropriate for debate.


Step 1: Find Your Inspiration


Finding a topic is not always as easy as it might seem! A good debate topic is one which promotes serious discussion and which has different arguments being presented in favor of distinct approaches or perspectives. Your job is to persuade others that one approach/perspective may be better than another approach/perspective on the issue, so be sure to do some preliminary research on a topic before making a final decision.


Browse Books


Marymount Library Catalog

To brainstorm ideas using the library catalog, search by "environment" (or another word of your choosing) and then click the "subject" button to browse book titles.




          Watch a how-to video to learn the basics of searching the library catalog.



Browse Article Databases


The Library pays for access to specialized databases where you can find magazine and journal articles online. These materials cannot usually be found using Google (unless you'd like to pay $30+ per article!). These databases are available from the Library’s home page under Research - Find Articles.


CQ Global Researcher

Browse reports covering pressing issues, including environmental issues, from around the globe.

Select "Browse By Topic". Topics include air pollution, energy policy, oil and natural gas, rapid urbanization, and water resources.


CQ Researcher

Browse reports covering pressing issues, including environmental issues, with a US regional focus.

Select "Browse By Topic". Topics include agriculture, energy, and environment and natural resources, and housing and development.


Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center

Browse issues facing the world community today, including many with an environmental focus.

Topics examined include endangered species, carbon offsets, fishing and depletion of oceans, and nuclear energy.




Step 2: Explore Your Inspiration in Greater Depth


Once you have done some basic browsing and short-listed 1-2 topics, you'll need to begin exploring those topics more in-depth. Websites and encyclopedias are great for general information, but you'll need to consult books, newspapers, and other periodicals to get more detailed information. Remember, good arguments are built on good evidence.

(Image used with permission from UC Irvine Libraries)



Find Newspaper & Journal Articles


Use the library's specialized databases to find newspaper and journal articles on topics of interest to researchers, like yourself.


Some articles are fully available. Other times you might only find a summary of the article with information about where and when it was published. In this case, we may have access through another database or a print copy of the article. If not, we can usually get a copy from another library.


Try one or more of these:


Academic Search Premier

Search for articles from nearly 4,700 journals and magazines in all subject areas.

*Be sure to click the "full text" check box on the search home page.


Newspaper Source

Search nearly 30 national and international newspapers for different arguments and perspectives on your topic.

*Be sure to click the "full text" check box on the advanced search home page.



Search well-researched articles covering all aspects of human impact to the environment. Includes content on the environmental effects of individuals, corporations, and governments, and what can be done at each level to minimize these effects.

*Be sure to click the "full text"check box on the search home page.


ProQuest Research Library

Search for articles from over 5,000 magazines and journals in all subject areas.

*Be sure to click the "full text" check box on the search home page.



Don't Forget: Cite Your Sources


As you're doing your research, be sure to note all the sources you are using. You will need this information to created a Works Cited Page.


Learn more about why and how to cite.  Marymount Library publishes APA and MLA citation guides online.


Basic Steps Once You Have Found a Source:


1.       Go to Marymount Library’s guides: http://www.marymountpv.edu/academics/library/research/citing-sources

2.       Identify the information type – the type determines which rules apply.

·         Example types: book, encyclopedia, magazine, newspaper article, journal article, web site, book review, pamphlet, telephone interview

3.       Next, determine if it’s online or print – the format also determine which rule to apply

4.       Use the type and the format to identify the relevant MLA rule

5.       Don’t add extra information, but do follow the rules exactly (including punctuation & capitalization)


For help citing sources, contact the library or visit a librarian in-person.




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