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GC205: Research Methods in Geography

Course guide by Bruce Sarjeant

Access Issues? Off campus and using a non-NMU Internet Service Provider? You will also need to have the Cisco VPN Client installed if you continue to be prompted for your username and password when you try and access a database (sorry; will not work with Vista). Mac users, on the other hand, need this Cisco VPN Client. WiMax access does not require the VPN.

Databases

NMU has pulled out several databases from the many we subscribe to that pertain to geography: they are listed here. If you would like to search across nearly all our databases, use the OneSearch feature:

Not every database is searched in OneSearch: these are not searched.

Full-text articles are available in and out of your initial database: look for the icon (could also be text).

Another way to get at full-text journals is to search the publisher's/provider's websites directly, or search in a specific subject area at this link.

Issues of national importance that have appeared in the news might have been covered in detail in CQ Researcher at one time or another. CQ Weekly looks at current events.

A few videos have been created to help you with research.

Print Resources (in reference unless otherwise noted)

Longman Dictionary of Geography. G 63 .C56 1985

Dictionary of Geography, 2nd ed. G 63 M39 1997.

Geo-Data: The World Geographical Encyclopedia, 3rd ed. G 103.5 .G36 2003

Atlases can be found in the G1000 call number: in reference, the map collection, and the circulating collection.

Encyclopedia of Landforms, vols 1-3. GB 406 .N35 2003

The Handbook of Geographic Information Sciences, G70.2 H356 2008. (3rd floor).

The NMU library has a list of Electronic Reference Sources in geography (as well as statistics, biology, sociology, and others as indicated on the left side of that page), a webpage on Maps, and feel free to use other courseguides,

Library Catalogs

Three to choose from. Each has merit: NMU's library catalog, MeLCat, and WorldCat. The last two will require you to interlibrary loan the item. WorldCat is a very good resource.

Want to browse the shelves? The call numbers for geography are:
G: Geography (general)
GA: Mathematical Geography, Cartography
GB: Physical Geography
GC: Oceanography
GF: Human Ecology, Anthropogeography

Internet & Government Resources

Evaluating Internet Resources: Your topics will undoubtably have concerned interest groups and organizations with their own web presence wanting to convince you one way or another on the subject. Give the groups a critical look. In most cases these websites will link to other resources, and so on.

Google Advanced Search

Librarian’s Internet IndexWeb sites evaluated by California librarians

Why limit your online searching to just google (or your favorite)? Pick another search engine from searchenginelist.com and run your search again. You might be surprised at the new resources that come up.

Intute. From Britain, hand-picked and indexed resources evaluated by subject experts. Geography is just one of the subjects. This resource "closed" in 2011 but it is still relevant.

Voice of the Shuttle. Eccelctic collection of links from UC Santa Barbara.

General Government Documents Resources

USA.gov. Official search engine for the Federal Government (but also includes state, local, and tribal governments as well). Includes all domain names associated with the government besides .gov and.mil.

Catalog of Government Publications from the Government Printing Office. Many online publicatons directly available from this resource; updated daily.

Search across up to 53 government agencies with MetaLib .
Collections include Environment, Science & Technology, Agriculture, Recreation, Travel & Transportation, and Business & Economy. You can also narrow your search to specific resources within each topic.

Congressional Research Service, the research arm of Congress. These reports provide a background for upcoming legislation or a current topic of interest. There is no one, public source for them. The Open CRS Network, the University of North Texas CRS collection, the Federation of American Scientists, and the Thurgood Marshall Law Library are four organizations that gather and host these reports.

The Federal Register.
Contains notices, proposed rules, final rules, and Presidential documents. In the case of many proposed and finalized rules, a lengthy background of the topic is provided.

Michigan & Upper Peninsula Resources

NMU's Michigan Government Documents webpage and Local & Regional webpage. Also, Portals to the Past: A Bibliographical and Resource Guide to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, by Dr. Russell Magnaghi, has an extensive collection of citations.

USGS "Science in Your Backyard: Michigan".

Specific Agencies (with a geographic subject matter?)

USGS Publications Warehouse. Searchable index of materials dating back to 1880. Many are full-text. Website contains additional links to USGS resources.

Fish and Wildlife Service.

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

Environmental Protection Agency.

U.S. Census Bureau.

American Memory Project from the Library of Congress.

NASA's (Higher Education) Geography page.

Data.gov: Federal, State and Local geographic data. More links can be found on the GIS Resources page .

Research Tips and Advice, Geography and Otherwise.

Zotero. A free program that helps you organize your resources. Works only in the Firefox browser; standalone versions for Chrome and Safari.

Purdue University's The OWL. A well-known and popular website for writing resources.

Your instructor wants you to use the Chicago style for citing. NMU has created a guide for this style, and we also have electronic access to the 16th edition of the manual.

Citing a map? The Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives has posted a guide Best Practices in Citation of Cartographic Materials.

NMU's Writing Center. It's yours. Use it.

Annotated bibliography: Writing an Annotated Bibliogaphy (University of Guelph), and some examples: Climate Ready Great Lakes: An Annotated Bibliography, Core List for an Environmental Reference Collection (from the EPA), and Texas Reference Sources.

Communicating in geography and the environmental science, 3rd.ed. G70 H35 2006.

Evaluating research in academic journals: a practical guide to realistic evaluation, 4th ed. H 62 .P97 2008

Writing literature reviews: a guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences. H 61.8 .G3 1999

Geography, history and concepts: a student's guide. Holt-Jensen, Arlid. G70 .H613 1999

Integrating Stakeholders and Users into the Geography Discipline's Research Process. Publication from the USGS. To sum up: remember who you are writing with, for and to.

Critically analyzing information sources. Resource from Cornell.

Professional Associations

Association of American Geographers. Publisher of the Annals of the AAG (G3 .A7) and The Professional Geographer (G3 .P7) .

American Geographical Society. Publisher of The Geographical Review (G1 .G35).

The Canadian Association of Geographers. Publisher of The Canadian Geographer (G1 .C29).

The Geographical Association (UK). Publisher of Geography (G73 .A15).

CataList: The Official Catalog of LISTSERV Lists. Sign up for one or more in your field. As for blogs, well, I don't know if such an authoritative list exists for them. Here is a google search for blog directory, Icerocket is another. Perhaps you've found a researcher in your field that has one, or a social networking presence.

Sign up for publisher alerts through your favorite social networking program, from within a database or directly from the publisher.

Graduate Schools

Continuing on in Geography? The College Bluebook (online and print REF LA226 .C685) is a 6 volume set describing colleges in the U.S. and Canada.. Volume 1 contains narrative descriptions of colleges, volume 2 is tabular data, volume 3 is degrees offered by college and subject, volume 4 is occupational education , volume 5 is scholarships, fellowships, grants and loans, and finally volume 6 is distance learning programs.

U.S. News and World Reports ranks the best colleges every year. NMU has electronic access in a variety of databases to this magazine, and U.S. News and World Reports provides a free sample of these rankings.

If you need help with any of these resources (or found some others you'd like to see added), ask for assistance at the Library's Reference Desk (227-2294), use the live chat, or contact Bruce Sarjeant, Reference, Documents & Maps Librarian (227-1580).



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Wed: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Thu: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sat: 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m.
Sun: CLOSED
For exceptions and full year hours