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US101-Researching Sustainability Topics   Tags: course_guide  

This guide is meant to help you research and prepare for your oral presentation on topics related to sustainability.
Last Updated: Sep 6, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Planet Earth


Sustainability refers to humanity's "ability to make development sustainable - to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs," according to the Brundtland Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987). 


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Search Terms and Related Topics

As a topic, Sustainability is very interdisciplinary.  Your research into sustainability might follow infinitely diverse paths. A topic that concerns the overall health of a planet and its many species should be relevant in many different ways. Take a look at this for some ideas. It's just a start:

Sustainable Development, Ecological Economics, population, ecosystems, environmental impact, human consumption, energy, forests, resource use, economic growth, corporate sustainability, social capital, natural resources, future generations, natural capital, economic development, biodiversity, eco-efficiency, Environmental sustainability, Biofuels, environmental footprint, Marketplace, Global Challenge, 21st century life, critical challenges, global community, resource efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable infrastructure, job creation, global sustainability, cultural evolution, well-being, healthy communities, clean environment, responsible economic growth, ethical leadership,  environmental stewardship, social responsibility


Annotated Bibliographies

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

A bibliography is a list  of documents or other materials (books, articles, reports, visual or audio recordings, Web pages, etc.) relating to a specified subject.   There are essentially two main types of bibliographies, both of which can be very valuable in locating information.   The first is a list of materials someone has used while researching a paper, article, or book.   This type of bibliography provides citations to works consulted and/or cited during the research process, gathered together at the end of the work produced, usually with the citations arranged alphabetically by the authors' last names.   The second type of bibliography is a separate work that stands on its own, ranging in length from a less than a page to several pages to a book, that provides a list or lists of works addressing a particular topic.   This kind of bibliography can be either selective (listing the best materials on a subject) or exhaustive (listing as many works as can be identified that address a subject).

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography in which each entry is accompanied by an annotation--a statement, ranging in length from a sentence or two to an entire paragraph, which may describe, explain, and evaluate each item.   Not every bibliography that includes additional text is an annotated bibliography; sometimes abstracts rather than annotations are provided.   An abstract is a brief summary of the text of a book, article, or other information source, usually without added interpretation or criticism.   Annotations are related to abstracts.   An annotation may begin with a brief abstract, but will often go on to include an assessment of the item's value or significance and then to offer comments or recommendations regarding its use.

Annotated bibliographies are most often used by scholars looking for materials on a particular topic.   They help researchers find out about the extent of materials available, to get a sense of the items listed, to determine the quality or usefulness of different books, articles, and other resources for their work, and to make initial decisions about what to consult and when.  (from Mudd Library, Lawerence University)

Here's a few links to sites about annotated bibliographies:

Interdisciplinary Databases

These are MSU's two biggest databases and are a great place to begin research on your sustainability topic:

Key Resources

These databases specialize and focus on topics and disciplines related to sustainability:

  • Building Green
    The Building Green is a an online suite of information about the environmentally friendly design, construction, and use of buildings.
  • CQ Researcher
    The CQ Researcher offers in-depth, non-biased coverage of important issues. Each report is on a single topic -- more than 12,000 words of text and extensive bibliographies. Includes arguments on both sides of an issue. Each weekly issue provides up-to-date information on controversial subjects written by CQ's staff of experienced reporters.
  • Opposing Viewpoints
    Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center provides full text access to opinion writing on both sides of issues. Based on the Opposing Viewpoints series from Greenhaven Press along with sources from other publishers, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center includes viewpoint articles; topic overviews; magazine, journal, and newspaper articles; primary source documents; statistics; images; podcasts; and links to Web sites.
  • Environment Complete
    Offers deep coverage in applicable areas of agriculture, ecosystem ecology, energy, renewable energy sources, natural resources, marine & freshwater science, geography, pollution & waste management, environmental technology, environmental law, public policy, social impacts, urban planning, and more.
  • CSA Environmental Sciences
    Coverage for Aquatic pollution, Bacteriology, Ecology, Energy resources, Environmental biotechnology, Environmental engineering, Environmental impact statements, Hazardous waste, Industrial hygiene, Microbiology, and Risk assessment.

Sustain Montana

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