University of Oregon

PS 297 - Introduction to Environmental Politics & Policy

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This page should help you with your research paper for this course. Feel free to contact me with questions.

Victoria Mitchell - Librarian for: Political Science, Government Information, and Social Science Data

ph: (541)346-3076


Getting Started

Reference sources, such as these specialized, academic encyclopedias, can help you identify and narrow a topic for your research, provide an overview of a specific issue or topic, and suggest further reading. (These do NOT count as scholarly sources, but they can lead you to them.)

off-campus access limited to UO = on campus use or UO authentication required

Environmental Encyclopedia off-campus access limited to UO
Short articles with brief bibliographies on a broad range of environmental topics. Includes a chronological list of U.S. Environmental Legislation.

Encyclopedia of Earth
An open, free, internet resource, but one with an editorial board and international advisory board, so it is a reputable source. See particularly the sections on 'Environmental Law & Policy', 'Environmental Humanities', 'Society and Environment', and of course you can just search it as well.

Encyclopedia of Global Change (Oxford Reference) off-campus access limited to UO 
A wide-ranging encyclopedia covering a range of general research categories: altered ecosystems, climate change, food and water supply, population, politics and global change, institutions and policies, biographies, and case studies.

Major Acts of Congress. off-campus access limited to UO Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.
Examines landmark pieces of legislation, explaining the historical factors that led to the proposal of each act, looking at the adoption process and assessing each act's impact. Includes most (but not all)  major environmental legislation, e.g. NEPA, CERCLA (Superfund Act), TSCA, Clean Air Act, more.

Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization off-campus access limited to UO
Useful for any environmental policy topics that cross borders, e.g. treaties, environmental groups that are active globally, resource issues between countries (e.g. shared water sources, drifting pollution, fisheries, climate change)

Review articles are another great way to get an overview of a subject and many references to scholarly and research articles. A review article DOES qualify as a scholarly source.

Try the Annual Review off-campus access limited to UO journals; you can search within each one for specific topics. See, for example:

Or, search all Annual Reviews here.

Search Web of Science off-campus access limited to UO (which includes the social sciences and humanities) and limit to review articles. To do this:

  • Enter your keyword terms in the search box "Topic", and click Search. On the left side of your results screen, you'll see a "Refine Results" column. Under "Document Types", click the box for "Review", and then click the "Refine" button.

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Do a Quick Article Search Here:


The above search box is searching the following databases which you can also search individually:

Academic Search Premier off-campus access limited to UO Good for its mix of popular, news, and scholarly articles. It is also a good starting point for Environmental Studies, because it is interdisciplinary. You have to exercise your critical evaluation skills to determine if an article is truly scholarly or not. (Do NOT rely solely on their limit to peer-reviewed feature--it is not reliable. Checking a journal on Ulrich's is better, although you still have to use your own judgment.)

PAIS off-campus access limited to UO Covers public affairs, public and social policies, international relations - journal articles, books, government documents, statistics, grey literature, research reports, and more, from 1914 to present.

Web of Science off-campus access limited to UO  Interdisciplinary database that includes all the social sciences, as well as natural sciences and humanities. Special features include the ability to find articles that cite an article or author; also you can refine and manipulate results in many ways.

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts off-campus access limited to UO The best database for retrieving articles only from scholarly journals in political science and related fields such as international relations, law, and public administration / policy.

You may also want to try:

GeoBase off-campus access limited to UO Covers worldwide literature in physical & human geography, hence environmental science and policy. Includes citations to journal articles, books, and conference proceedings from 1973 to the present.

GoogleScholar.  Searches articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web. It is also a good source for finding NGO, "think tank" and government reports.

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Finding Books

in LibrarySearch (UO Libraries and beyond)  Don't forget to Sign in!

A few book search tips:

  • Use more general terms, as opposed to the more specific terms used for searching for articles.
    • E.g., if you want books about the politics of the marbled murrelet and logging old growth forests, you may want to expand your search to forest policy + endangered species + Pacific Northwest.
  • LibrarySearch finds articles, and many other formats besides books. To limit to books, click on 'book' under 'Resource Type' on the left side. Note: you may need to click on "More options" to limit to books.
  • You may get more or better results if you do a Subject Heading search for a broad term. To do a search by Subject:
    • go to Browse Search and pull down the menu to Subject. Or,
    • click on the subject heading links under 'Details' for a book that you like, to get more like it.
    • For instance, in the above search I found and clicked on the subject heading "Forest policy" which found me more potentially relevant books.
  • Here is a small selection of potentially useful subject headings:
    • [Topic] - Environmental aspects (e.g. "Free trade - Environmental aspects")
    • Climatic changes (used for Climate change); also Global temperature changes
    • Conservation of natural resources (or [Name of resource] - Conservation)
    • Deep ecology
    • Environmental economics
    • Environmental health (i.e. effects of exposure to chemicals, pollutants)
    • Environmental impact statements - [geographic name]
    • Environmental justice
    • Environmental policy (see also narrower term: Local government and environmental policy)
    • [Topic] - Government policy (e.g. "Logging - Government policy")
    • Green movement (used for Environmental groups; Environmental movements)
    • [Topic] - Political aspects (e.g. "Power resources - Political aspects")
    • Political ecology
    • Pollution (or narrower terms: Air pollution, Water pollution, etc.)
    • Social ecology

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Government Sources

United States


Proquest Congressional off-campus access limited to UO Searches all Congressional publications and retrieves full text; plus information on individual members and committees.

Federal Agencies

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)  The BLM administers more public land than any other agency in the U.S.--not a player to be ignored.

Department of Energy (DOE)

Department of Transportation (DOT)

  • TRID A database providing access to more than one million records of transportation research worldwide.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Fish and Wildlife Service

Forest Service

Geological Survey (USGS) Research areas include energy and mineral resources, water, climate and land use change, ecosystems.

  • Search USGS publications here

National Park Service

Natural Resource Conservation Service Think of it as the environmental arm of the Dept. of Agriculture.

NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) This is where you'll find research on climate, fisheries, coastal issues.

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State Agencies

Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Department of Fish and Wildlife

Department of Land Conservation and Development

Department of State Lands  Sort of the Oregon state version of the BLM - administers state forest, grazing, etc., lands.

Northwest Power & Conservation Council

Parks and Recreation Department

Water Resources Department


European Union

OECD i-Library Publications and statistics from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

More Government Information

See Libraries' Government Information page

Statistical (and other) Data

Data-Planet off-campus access limited to UO A comprehensive, searchable data source, including datasets on energy, agriculture, natural resources, population, and more. Stronger in U.S. statistics than international.

Environmental Statistics (links to sources of statistics in all formats, including statistical reports)

Environmental Data Sets (links to sources of downloadable data sets only)

OECD i-Library Statistics off-campus access limited to UO

UNdata Statistical data, by country, from the UN

World Bank Development Data

  • If you can't find what you need, ask Victoria.

Evaluating Sources

Popular vs Scholarly (articles)

Evaluating Sources (generally)

Evaluating Web Pages

The Peer Review Process
A very short video on what it is and ways to recognize peer-reviewed journals.

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Created by vmitch on Oct 3, 2012 Last updated Aug 24, 2015
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