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Physical Geography Research Guide

Accessing assistance 

If you need help, please contact Julie Jones, GIS & Map Librarian | Liaison Librarian for Geography at 778-782-9704 or or Ask a librarian.

Check the main Geography resource page for links to library research guides prepared for specific courses (under Help with course assignments).

SFU Library Research Skills Tutorial: up your academic game by completing this 50 minute tutorial.


Background information

Searching for books

Use the Library Catalogue to find books on your topic. Try a Keyword search first. Display the record for a book that matches your topic and look at the Subject terms in the record. Click on a Subject that matches your topic to locate more relevant books.

Journal articles

The following are core databases for journal articles in Physical Geography. Other databases may be useful for your topic - access all of the databases that SFU Library subscribes to here.

Web of Science
Search for journal articles, citation counts, journal impact factors, and more. Major multidisciplinary academic database with excellent coverage of the sciences. 

Search for journal articles in human and physical geography, earth sciences, ecology, geology, and environmental sciences. 

Environment Complete
Search for journal articles in the area of environmental studies in this database

Covers geology literature.

Statistics and data

For more information on statistical sources, see Finding Statistics Canada Publications and Finding Statistics on British Columbia.


Detailed instructions for finding maps at SFU Library are in the Geography - Finding Maps and Atlases guide. See the Map Collection guide for more complete information about map resources at SFU Library. The SFU Library collection also includes atlases, sheet maps, digital maps, air photos and gazeteers.

Government information

British Columbia


United States

For information on additional government sources, see Government Resources web page.

Putting it all together: Writing, study, and citing guides and resources

  • Making Sense: A Student's Guide to Research and Writing: Geography & Environmental Sciences [print]
  • How to do Your Dissertation in Geography and Related Disciplines [online] | [print]
  • Communicating in Geography and the Environmental Sciences [print]
  • Study Skills for Geography, Earth and Environmental Science Students [print]
  • How to do Your Dissertation in Geography and Related Disciplines [online] | [print]
  • Geography@university: making the most of your geography degree and courses [online]
  • SFU Library's guides to APAMLA and Chicago/Turabian styles.
  • Citation Management Software

The Student Learning Commons (SLC) provides writing and learning support to SFU students of ALL levels, whether you are an A student or a student who is struggling. You can book a consultation and/or attend a workshop

Writing handouts from the SLC: These handouts are excellent! They will guide you through the mechanics of academic writing and help with things like grammar, citing, transition words, and style. See especially the three handouts on integrating sources. Immensely helpful.

Avoiding plagiarism: Questions about what constitutes plagiarism? Please read the SFU Library's What is Plagiarism? page and then take our Plagiarism Tutorial.