Skip to Main Content


This guide will assist users interested in Environment, GIS, Urban Planning, Tourism as well as Geography in general. It is recommended that users make use of other subject guides as appropriate.

Find background information

Use the resources on this page to get to know a new research area or choose a topic for a paper. These are not necessarily sources you can cite in a paper, but they will help you understand the basics and come up with keywords to use when you search for sources later.

Open web searches (Google, Wikipedia, etc.)

Feel free to begin your research on Google, as long as it doesn't end there. Use this time to try out different keywords for your topic.

Review articles

These kinds of articles give a broad overview of scholarship in a topic and are a good place to start your research. Some databases, such as Scopus and ProQuest Research Library, allow you to filter results to see only review articles. In other databases, including GeoRef and GreenFILE, searching for "review" in the title field works well. See the databases section below.


Try one of the specialized encyclopedias in the list below for expert-written articles on your topic, including citations to important sources.

Topic Encyclopedia

General geography and area studies

International Encyclopedia of Geography, 2017

International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2015

Physical geography

The Dictionary of Physical Geography, 2016

The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Physical Geography, 2018

Human geography

International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2020


Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences, 2015

Urban planning

The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Futures, 2022


Encyclopedia of GIS, 2017


Encyclopedia of Tourism, 2016


Imperiled: The Encyclopedia of Conservation, 2022


Books are a great place to start your research because they take the time to explain things you may not understand (unlike journal articles). You don't have to read the whole book! Search for books using Library Search:

Geography databases

Articles and books:

Dissertations and theses:


Profile Photo
Micaela Carignano
1050 Waldo Library