Physical geography research guide

Accessing assistance 

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

Check the main Geography page for links to library research guides prepared for specific courses.

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

Services for Faculty 


Specialized encyclopedias

Searching for books

Use the SFU Library Catalogue to find books on your topic. For tips on effective searching, use the Library Catalogue Search Guide.

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. Includes backward and forward citation linking as well as citation counts.

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

Search for journal articles, conference proceedings, and other resources in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Can also be used for cited reference searches, citation analysis of research, and searching by affiliation.

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

Covers geology literature.

Google Scholar
Searches academic literature across disciplines. Includes backward and forward citation linking as well as citation counts.

Statistics and data

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

Maps, geospatial data, GIS 

Detailed instructions for finding maps at SFU Library are in the Geography - Finding Maps and Atlases and Map Collection guides. The SFU Library collection also includes atlases, sheet maps, digital maps, air photos and gazeteers.

Access geospatial data and GIS resources on the Library's GIS & Maps pages. 

Government information

British Columbia


United States

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

Putting it all together: Study, writing, and citing

The Student Learning Commons (SLC) provides writing and learning support to SFU undergraduate 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

The Research Commons provides extensive writing services for SFU graduate students of all levels, as well as workshops and consultations for all stages of the research lifecycle. 

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.

Related SFU research guides