GEOG 389: Nature and Society

This guide was created for the use of students in Geography 389: Nature and Society. Check the Library Catalogue and SFU Library Databases to find additional materials at the SFU Library. For assistance, contact 

If you need help, please contact Sarah (Tong) Zhang, Librarian for Geography, GIS, & Maps at 778-782-9704 or or Ask a librarian.


Getting started: background information in specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries

Extremely useful for overviews of concepts and for the Further Reading / References lists at the end of entries. Also excellent for identifying the vocabulary surrounding your topic.

  • International Encyclopedia of Human Geography [online] *See especially the entries in the section Nature / Environment.
  • The Dictionary of Human Geography [online] or [print]
  • Oxford Bibliographies Online [online] *Browse topics under Geography and/or Environmental Science. 


  • Use the Library Catalogue to find books. Keyword searches are useful for finding chapters in edited books on broader topics. They can also lead you to some good subject headings, which will allow you to do more precise searching.

Journal articles

Use these databases to locate academic journal articles. Read the description to see what content is in the database—each has unique content. 

  • GEOBASE: Scholarly research in geography. 
  • Web of Science: Major multidisciplinary scholarly database with excellent coverage of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Includes backward and forward citation linking as well as citation counts. 
  • Environment Complete: Search journal articles from over 1,900 environmental sciences journals.
  • Google Scholar: Searches scholarly literature across disciplines and sources. Use the Google search tips in this handout to have greater control over your searches. 
  • GreenFILE: Database of research focused on human impact on the environment. No full text, but you can use Citation Finder, Library Search, or Google Scholar to locate the full text of articles. 
  • Academic Search Premier: Academic articles from across disciplines. 

Sources for searching for grey literature

Grey literature is information produced outside of traditional publishing—reports, working papers, government documents, urban plans, etc. This information is often produced by organizations "on the ground" (such as government agencies and NGOs) where dissemination of information and reporting on activities is the goal before publishing an academic article or book. If the source is a Google Custom Search, use our Search tips for Google and Google Scholar.

Newspaper articles

  • Canadian Newsstream: contains the full text of articles in major Canadian and small market BC newspapers.
  • PressReader: Canadian and International newspapers, with coverage of the last 30-60 days only, in full colour.
  • See also: the Alternative News Sources research page. The Alternative Press Index will connect you with news articles from alternative, radical, and left publications.

Writing Help

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.

How-to books on academic writing: These are extremely useful books that will demystify the academic writing process. 

  • Science Writing: Lab Report, Research Paper, Essay Exam [print]
  • Making Sense: A Student's Guide to Research and Writing: Geography & Environmental Sciences [print]  *see especially Chapter 5: "Writing an Essay".
  • They say/I say: the Moves that Matter in Academic Writing [print]

Citation style: Use APA style when citing sources. Please refer to the following guides:​

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