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BIO 220: Environmental Biology

Class resource guide for the Spring 2023 section of BIO 220: Environmental Biology



Welcome to the class research guide for BIO 220: Environmental Biology with Dr. Rieck. This guide will provide recommended resources including source evaluation, government organizations, and library resources for your Environmental Topic Report.

You can find information on creating citations at the Journal of Environmental Science guide for authors. Librarians are also happy to help you with citing!

A Few Definitions

As you begin your research process it is important to understand the different types of resources and when you might use them: 

  • Reference Resources: a great place to start your research! Entries in reference resources tend to be short and can help you gather background information and define unfamiliar terms from your readings. Our physical reference materials can be found on the first floor of Snowden Library and include encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, and handbooks.
  • Books and eBooks: books are a great way to continue building an understanding of your topic as they typically contain individual chapters that are all connected to a larger theme. Remember, you will not be reading an entire book! Instead, look for your topic in the subject index or select one chapter from the table of contents that is most relevant to you. 
  • Scholarly Journal Articles: these sources are written by experts in their field to communicate research and findings with other scholars and students studying that subject. Scholarly journal articles often use more technical and/or subject specific language, so it is important to first build an understanding of your topic through reference resources and books before reading. 

Source Evaluation

It is important to be mindful when finding and using sources that they are reliable and appropriate for our current research. To evaluate a source, one technique you can use are the four moves of SIFT:


  • Take a moment to pause and ask yourself what you already know about the source. Are you familiar with the claims it is making?

Investigate the Source

  • Gather information about the source – the publisher, author, reputation of the publication, etc. Are there any potential conflicts of interest or biases? What are other sources saying about the author or publisher?

Find Trusted Coverage

  • Gather information about the claim or argument present in the source. What are other sources saying about the claim? What is the general consensus of the information?

Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media to Original Context

  • Gather information about where a claim, quote, or piece of media originally came from. How does this change your understanding of the information and/or resource?

Reference Resources

Britannica Online
Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change
Environmental Encyclopedia
International Encyclopedia of Environmental Politics
Encyclopedia of Environmental Biology
Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy
Encyclopedia of Sustainability

Locating Books and eBooks

Use the online catalog or browse the stacks to locate both print and eBooks on your topic. The general categories for books on biology and environmental sciences can be found on the third and fourth floors of Snowden Library:  

  • GE: Environmental Sciences
  • QE: Geology
  • QH: Natural History, Biology
  • QK: Botany
  • QL: Zoology

Locating Scholarly Journal Articles