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Environmental Science: Get Started

A guide to library resources and tools for the Environmental Science students, faculty, and staff at Northeastern University

Getting started: Finding Relevant Sources in Environmental Science

Tackling a new topic?

Try looking for a review article first.  Review articles attempt to summarize the state of research on a scientific topic.  While lengthy & not generally including the very latest research, review articles can be a great way to start to get a handle on a topic.  

Don't overlook the literature cited at the end of the review - the bibliography contains a wealth of information about the key discoveries & main researchers in the field.  

Most databases (including Web of Science below) will allow you to limit your search to include only review articles or literature reviews.  

You could also try searching through a reference work like an encyclopedia for introductory information to a new topic.

For articles describing primary research using scientific methods, written by experts in the field or scientists, try these databases to start:


Drawing on the connection between the environment and disciplines such as agriculture, education, law, health and technology, GreenFILE is an informative resource for anyone concerned about our planet. The database contains nearly 300,000 records, full text for selected titles, and searchable cited references for more than 200 titles as well.

Web of Science

Web of Science indexes over 11,000 scholarly journals in the sciences (1975-present). Web of Science's strength is in its interdisciplinary focus and its ability to perform citation searching.  

For other databases that may be helpful for environmental science topics, click here or on the Databases tab at the top of the page.

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