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SCI 360 Great Issues in Science and Society: Getting Started

General Information

Top Picks:

GREENR -- Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources

AccessScience -- Scientific Encyclopedia

Where to Start

You have to start a project on a topic you know little about.  How do you even know what questions to ask? 

You Google something, and get 2 million results (some of them bad).  Hopefully, the first ten are the ones you are looking for...or is there another way?

What you need is a way to find overview information, so you get a feel for what options are out there, what 'the experts' think about the topic, and generally get a feel for the overall scope or magnitude of the issue.  Sometimes it is hard to find these kinds of resources amidst all the specific bits of informatoin floating around the internet. 

So, where to start? 

Wikipedia isn't too bad as a start, although not to finish. 

The Libraries have licensed GREENR, a guide to environmental resources and policy information.  Caution: it only provides information that is licensed by the publisher, so it's not a comprehensive guide, but it does help give you some basic information and current research.  

Popular journals, such as Nature, Science, Scientific American, and New Scientist publish special issues on topics throughout the year.  

Some examples include:

 Nature -- Water: Under Pressure Can Science Feed the World? -- Index to special issues.

 Science --Scaling Up Alternative Energy; Food Security -- Index to special issues.

 Scientific American -- Carbon Capture; What Is the Smart Grid?-- Index to In-Depth Reports

 New Scientist -- Climate Change; Energy-Fuels -- Index to Topics

Once you have a feel for the overall topic and the vobulary and language used, then you can dive into the research.