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GEOL(GEOG) 3330 & GEOL 3570

What Researchers Do:

TOPIC – Define the research question/statement

SOURCES – Identify the information need. Do you need background info? A research article? A literature review article? etc. What databases would include this type of information on your topic?

KEYWORDS – Select the words you will be using to find information effectively and efficiently (Use a variety of words to describe your topic/concepts. Find subject headings that relate to your topic/concept).

EVALUATION – Evaluate information critically. Is the info relevant, reliable, current, appropriate?

USE--Organize, synthesize and communicate information to make your point/argument.

CITE--Ethically and legally access and use info by avoiding plagiarism and citing all your sources.

Searching the Article Databases

You can use an Article Database to find journal, magazine, and newspaper articles on your topic. 

GreenFile - The database focuses on the relationship between human beings and the environment, with well-researched information on topics ranging from global warming to recycling to alternate fuel sources and beyond.

GeoBase - Index with abstracts to more than 2200 international journals and magazines covering the worldwide literature on geology, geography, and ecology.

For country profiles: 


The World Factbook

CQ Researcher

General purpose databases:  

Academic Search Premier

SAGE Premier Collection



Search Tips: Finding Scholarly or Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Use a database that indexes peer-reviewed journals, such as GreenFile or Science Direct.
  • On the Search screen in any database, click the option (if offered) to limit results to "Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed Journals."

  • Scan the abstract of any article to identify words typically used in original research, such as "methods," "survey," "data," "results," "findings" or "conclusions." If the abstract includes some combination of these terms, there's a good chance that it is of scholarly or peer-reviewed nature.

  • Still unsure if the article comes from a peer-reviewed journal?  Identify the name of the journal in which the article was originally published, and find the publication's home site on the Internet.  Look for information "About" the journal and its editorial standards.  If the journal says that submissions are reviewed by an editorial panel of the author's peers, then it's a peer-reviewed journal!


    Search Tips: Database tricks

    • Use the "Advanced Search" option within an online database.

    • Identify and brainstorm the key words and concepts relevant to your search--usually noun concepts and their synonyms.
      Example: If you're researching "suburban" regions, related terms may be "suburbs", "suburbia", or "rural".

    • Use Boolean operators to link key words for searching. 
      To narrow a search to an exact topic, link major concepts with the Boolean operator "AND."
      Example: If searching for information on different aspects of cultural geography in South America, search for...
      • "South America" AND "landscape"
      • "South America" AND "environment"
      • "South America" AND "cultural geography"

      To expand a search to retrieve more results, link synonyms or related concepts with the Boolean operator "OR."

      Example: If searching for information on urban growth, search for...
      • "urban" OR "municipal" OR "metropolitan" AND "growth" OR "development" OR "planning"
    • Use truncation to search for all variations of a key word.
      Example: If searching for information on the development of a specific geographic location, search for "develop*", typing an asterisk or star symbol (*) at the end of the root "develop".  This will find items that mention "development", "developing", "developers," and "developed," all of which could be relevant search terms. 


      John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
      California State University, Los Angeles
      5151 State University Drive
      Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300