Nature & Human Values (NHV)
- Paper ideas
- Search databases & library resources
- Ethics: online resources
- Evaluating resources for authoritativeness
- Writing your paper
Want research help?
Visit the NHV Librarian, Lia Vella, during Nature & Human Values Help Hours -- Thursdays 1:00-2:00 and Friday 12:00-1:00 at the west end of the Library's Reference Room. Can't make it then? Contact Lia to set up an appointment or ask your question, or see the librarian on duty at the Reference Desk.
Peruse the book and article display at the NHV Help Station on the west end of the Library Reference Room.
Need Full Text Now? [help]
Mines Library Catalog (log-in recommended for more results)
GreenFile (articles about human impact on the environment)
Academic Search Premier (Ebsco)
Doing In-Depth Research?
For background on your topic:
Other possible sources on various topics: Multidisciplinary online databases
Can't get full-text? Submit an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request.
If your instructor asks for a college-level (authoritative, scholarly) source for your paper, the source should have at least some of these characteristics:
⇒ Work is based on original research, observation or data
⇒ Work is relatively free of bias, opinion, or promotion
⇒ Authors are highly educated and knowledgeable in the subject
⇒ Authors cite their sources
⇒ Content is reviewed by other experts (peer-reviewed)
College-level sources include:
Scholarly journal articles and books
Government publications. Examples -- Congressional hearings, research reports, regulatory information.
Publications by authoritative organizations. Examples -- Colorado School of Mines, American Society of Civil Engineers.
Not college-level (but still potentially useful):
Editorials (even if they're in a scholarly journal)
Educational materials aimed at beginners. For example, K-12 web sites, text books.
Encyclopedias (including Wikipedia)
Why? College students are generally expected to dig deeper, consult cited publications, etc., rather than rely solely on non-scholarly works.
For more on scholarly sources, see Use and Organize My Information.
Watch a short video on how to identify a scholarly article, produced by librarians at Coastal Carolina University.
If you enjoyed that, here are some more videos from Coastal Carolina on topics such as annotated bibliography, giving a good presentation, and building keyword searches.
1. The Idea. Think about:
- Environmental or technological issues at a local, regional, or national scale.
- Current Events for ideas from the news.
- An ethical piece to any topic you pick.
- Something that's INTERESTING.
- A topic that has been written about in enough depth that you will have reliable sources to work with (i.e., don't pick an environmental disaster that happened two days ago).
2. The Issues.
The Web is a great way to get a feel for the issues surrounding current or controversial topics. Find out who's in the news, what websites promote viewpoints, which organizations are involved. You will not necessarily use these websites as sources in your final paper, but they can help you get started in gathering background information.
3. Boundaries. Set some--you have a deadline.
Which issues do you want to include? Can your subject be narrowed or broadened if you run into snags with your research?
Keep notes (print or electronic) on what you find. Start with the publications you've already run across while picking your topic.
Background (book chapters, Wikipedia) can help you put everything in context.
After you have enough background information, start your research with the Library Catalog (log in to the catalog for more results) to find some good sources or identify databases or articles that are relevant to your topic. Don't hesitate to search, search, and search again if your first list of results doesn't turn up what you need (why do you think it's called research??).
5. The Paper
Get your notes together and identify what you should cite.
If there's a hole in your research, go back and find publications that will back you up.
Your final draft should include the list of publications you've cited. The assignment's due; you're good to go.
Find information on citing sources here.