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EES1100 Master of Environmental Science Resource Guide

This guide will help Master of Environmental Students at UTSC access key resources for research, learn about publishing and scholarly communication, prepare for internship, and more.

Scholarly articles - the basics

Scholarly journals are where academics present their research and where debate on discipline-specific issues occurs.  As a student, you are now a member of the academic community and expected to engage with this literature.

Remember journal articles are extremely specific. If you don't know much about a subject area it might be best to start with your course textbook and other books. These will give you a broad overview of your topic and help you come up with keywords and ideas to more quickly find useful articles.  

As well, if you're studying an extremely recent event, you may not be able to find anything directly related in the scholarly literature because it takes some time for scholars to write about it. In this case, try researching related ideas instead. 

Why use research databases?

  • They are often specialized by subject area (e.g. Biochemistry)
  • They contain information not available through public resources like Google
  • They are designed with scholars and researchers in mind -- that's you!

Using library research databases

You can search for individual e-journals using the LibrarySearch however today's online environment has made it possible to efficiently search across numerous journals, sometimes thousands, to find articles published in them that are relevant to a particular project or assignment topic. 

This means that rather than just searching one journal (for example, the Journal of Environmental Quality or the Journal of Chemical Education) you can use a research database to search across many journals that publish articles about environmental science issues. 

If you're not sure which database to search, try starting with the ones listed on the popular databases page below. There are tons of other databases grouped based on subject areas on the library's Subjects A-Z site. 

Not sure what discipline would cover about your topic?  Try multidisciplinary databases.

Tip:  No database has everything! It's highly recommended that you try a couple databases. If you're having trouble with your search, review this guide or ask your librarian, instructor or TA for help.

Searching for articles

If you already have the citation information for a specific article, search for the article by title using LibrarySearch.

A selection of individual databases that could be helpful for your assignments are listed below.

Getting Fulltext

When searching for articles in research databases, look for the getit! button* to link to the article's FREE full text online. 

If we don't have an electronic copy of the article, it will also let you look for print versions of the article, or request it via Interlibrary Loan.  

If there is no "Get it!" link, or you experience problems, simply search for the article or journal title in LibrarySearch.  When full text is not readily available online, make sure you use the title of the journal (not the article title or author).

*Different databases have different full-text buttons so you might want to  also look for buttons labeled full text or PDF.

Is there an easy way for me to authenticate as a U of T user while I'm researching off-campus?

Yes! We can suggest several strategies.

  1. Start at the library webpage: By signing in with your UTORid and password when you are using LibrarySearch, you are authenticated as a U of T user for the rest of your browser session.  This allows you access to U of T licensed e-content, such as articles, databases, or e-books.
  2. Change your Google Scholar settings: Make sure Google Scholar knows you're a U of T user. Once you change your settings, you'll see "Get it! UTL" links next to articles in your search results.
  3. Get LibKeyNomad: If you're using Chrome or Edge, install an extension called LibKey Nomad. It will link you to the PDF of articles owned by U of T or open access.
  4. Paste the proxy: If you're on a journal website, try pasting in front of the URL you're currently on.  You will be asked to log in with your UTORid. Note: This only works if the library actually subscribes to the journal.