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SCI 295: Research Essentials


1. Finding Background Information

Get to Know your Topic:
It's important to develop a basic idea of what's going on in your field. This includes knowing the vocabulary and academic points of disagreement between scholars. To get this information, you might try reading encyclopedia articles, book introductions, academic blogs, and current publications. Here are a few examples of library resources that may help you get to know your topic:  

Dig a Little Deeper with Books and Films:
Use Primo, the library catalog to find books in print, ebooks, and streaming media on your topic. Access Primo from the library homepage. You can use the search bar at the top of the webpage or click the Primo Guided Search link. Notice where the arrows are pointing in the screen capture:









The search default for Primo is an Everything search.

SEARCH TIP: To limit to books and media, select UHMC Library from the drop-down before you search:


SEARCH TIP: Select books or videos from Resource Type in the Tweak your results column after you search. If you want an ebook, select Available online from Availability (option above Resource Type). Print books from the library are indicated by Held by library:


2. Finding Articles

HOW TO: Check out the library's 2 Minute Tips videos for instructions on accessing library article databases from the Databases A-Z page.


Sustainability and Sustainable Science magazine and journal article databases. The library subscribes to a handful of good databases covering agriculture, natural resources, and sustainability subjects. Visit the Databases A-Z webpage and select Sustainability from the Subjects drop-down. 

Recommended databases from this collection are:

  • Sustainability Reference Center - journals, magazines, books, and reports on all sustainability-related topics. 
  • Environment Complete - top environment journals covering agriculture, ecosystem ecology, energy, public policy, sustainability and other related subjects. 
  • GreenFILE primarily covers topics on the human impact to the environment. 
  • Science Direct - scholarly journal articles covering all areas of science.   

3. Researching Hawaii and Local Topics

For Hawai'i and "local" research, your best bets are, you may want to consult the Library's Researching Local Topics Research Guide. Looks like this:

Specific databases recommended for local topic research are: 

4. Finding Statistics and Data


  • Statista​
    data from businesses, government departments, or market research associations. Geographic coverage is worldwide, with particular emphasis on the United States, China, and European Union countries. Use the infographics features to communicate your topic visually. 

To find country data on energy, food, environment, and other sustainability topics, consult these international sources:

  • UNdata includes statistics, estimates, and projections on development, education, energy, environment, food and agriculture, gender, health, human development, and more.
  • The WorldBank provides data, charts, and maps on a variety of topics, including development, the environment, energy, health, poverty, and more. 


  • State of Hawaii Data Book 
    "...official summary of statistics on the social, economic, and political organization of our state." 2000-present.
  • Maui County Data Book
    "... a useful and valuable source of economic, demographic and other statistical information about the County of Maui." 
  • State of Hawaii Census and Population (DBEDT)
    Customized links to Hawaiʻi profiles for American Community Survey, Economic Census and more.
  • Native Hawaiian Databook 
    "...official summary of statistics on the social, economic, and political organization of our state...also includes resource lists for education, health, human services, and economic development, and GIS maps to illustrate the demographic distribution of the Native Hawaiian population in the state of Hawaiʻi."

Essential Links

Additional UHMC Research Guides

Research Guides of Interest from UH Mānoa

Here are some science and sustainability-related research guides from the UH Mānoa Library that relate to Hawai'i and the Pacific Islands. You may have access to some of the resources mentioned in these guides, or there may similar sources available through in the UHMC Library.  Please contact us for help accessing Mānoa resources.