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Sustainability @ Gonzaga: Course Resources

Cataldo Project

Government Sources

Federal, state and local governments are all places to find information on your topic. Doing a web search for the government of the city, county or state you are researching will be a good start to finding websites for relevant government agencies (check the red Web Resources tab for more of these types of websites).

However, there is a vast amount of government information that is not as freely accessible. Below is a list of databases of government documents and publications from Foley to aid in your search.

News Sources

If written during the time period you are studying, newspapers can be an excellent place to find primary sources. They are also a good place to search for reporting on an issue as it evolves over time. Below are Foley's news databases.

Source Types for Bioregional Histories

Primary, secondary and tertiary sources may all have a place in your bioregional history report. However, the definitions of these source types can vary depending on the context and field of study. In a multidisciplinary field like Environmental Studies, this can lead to some confusion. Below are some definitions and rules of thumb for thinking about sources and the origins of the information you use in your research.

Primary Sources

A primary source is generally defined as original information, produced during the time period under study. As long as it is from the time period your are studying, a primary source can take many forms, including:

  • artifacts
  • photographs and audio/video recordings 
  • diaries, letters and emails
  • patents
  • newspaper articles
  • government or other institutional documents
  • interview transcripts and speeches
  • journal articles (if they document original research produced under the time period you are studying)

Secondary Sources

A secondary source brings an evaluative or interpretive perspective to a primary source or sources, and is written after the time period under study. Secondary sources are written with the benefit of hindsight. The lines between primary and secondary sources are often blurred. Keep in mind that the determining factor is your own context: your research topic and perspective. In fact, most of the list of primary source types above could also be considered secondary sources if they are produced after the time period you're studying.

Tertiary Sources

A tertiary source, like a secondary source, is written after the time period under study. However, a tertiary source often takes a broader perspective, and is summative in nature. Tertiary sources often reference both primary and secondary sources. Tertiary sources are often reference materials, and include:

  • Almanacs, maps and fact books
  • Dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • Handbooks, guidebooks and manuals
  • Textbooks 

Topic: Culture & History

The following eResources will be helpful for topics on Social Sciences and History related to Environmental Studies. More can be found in the guides for the following subjects:

Sociology                  U.S. History

Political Science         World History

Topic: Geography & Region

The following eResources will be helpful for topics tied to geography and region-specific studies, especially locations near Gonzaga University.