Environmental and Resource Studies

Learning & Liaison Librarian

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Abdullah Yossofzai
(705) 748-1011 Ext. 7684

Welcome to the GEOG-ERST 2510 Library Guide

On this page you'll find information about and links to library resources and tools that may help you in this course. Included is information about the Maps, Data & Government Information Centre, Data Analysis & Visualization tools, tips for keyword searching and finding qualitative research, tips for managing your searches and results, and links to library tutorials.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact the library: library@trentu.ca

Maps, Data & Government Information Centre (MaDGIC)

The Maps, Data and Government Information Centre (MaDGIC) is a major resource for all students. The unit serves as the campus centre for geospatial and statistical data, providing all disciplines with data sets from diverse government agencies and commercial publishers.  Please visit the MaDGIC website for a list of resources.

For in-person and virtual service hours, please see MaDGIC's Contact webpage. (Appointments are recommended)

For workshops and events, please visit the following web pages: 

The Data Visualization Lab provides faculty and students with a range of state-of-art tools, including advanced computers, spatial and statistical software, and 3D and VR analysis and display technologies. Some of these tools include ArcGIS, ArcGIS StoryMaps, Adobe Creative Cloud, NVivo and Tableau (including Tableau Prep).  These facilities and the consultation services provided by the Lab, support a community of users drawn from a range of disciplines - from archaeology to conservation biology, environmental science to sociology - that together seek to understand and interpret the spatial patterns found throughout nature and society.

Data Analysis & Visualization Tools & Guides

There are several tools available for data analysis and data visualization.  Some are open access and some are commercial resources.  If you're interested in using tools available at the workstations in the Data Visualization Lab, please contact madgichelp@trentu.ca.


NVivo is a software that provides the ability to store, organize, categorize, analyze, and visualize date all in one platform. It has been designed for data analysis and data visualization in qualitative and mixed-methods research.  It accomodates a wide range of research methods, including:

  • action based research
  • organizational analysis
  • discourse analysis
  • grounded theory
  • conversation anlaysis
  • ethnography
  • phenomenology
  • literature reviews
  • etc.

It supports a wide range of data formats, including:

  • audio files
  • videos
  • digital photos
  • Word
  • PDF
  • spreadsheets
  • rich or plain text
  • etc.


Tableau Desktop

Tableau Desktop is a software that allows you to import data and apply a number of different transformations to that data, and eventually create a number of different visualizations. Tableau desktop is capable of complex data modeling and a wide variety of visualization outputs including graphs, plots, maps, etc. Furthermore, Tableau can compose multiple visualizations together and add interactive elements like filters, point-and-click functionality, etc.

Tableau Prep

From the company's website - "Tableau Prep changes the way traditional data prep is performed in an organization. By providing a visual and direct way to combine, shape and clean data, Tableau Prep makes it easier for analysts and business users to start their analysis, faster. Tableau Prep is comprised of two products: Tableau Prep Builder for building your data flows, and Tableau Prep Conductor for scheduling, monitoring and managing flows across the organization."

Other Resources

The links below are to helpful guides from other universities for data analysis and visualization.

Library Tutorials & Guides

Tips for Finding Qualitative Research Articles

To narrow your search to Qualitative research articles you need to think about the keywords related to the questions this type of research seeks to answer and the methodologies.

  • Try adding the word qualitative to the your search strategy.
  • Qualitative research may include questions about meaning, experience, attitude, perception, opinion, emotions, decision making, etc.  These are some of the very words you can use as keywords in your search for articles.  
  • Try adding adding a word(s) related to qualitative research design and methods of data collection. These may include grounded theory, ethnography, ethnological research, ethnomethodology, phenomenology, purposive sample, hermeneutic, heuristic, semiotics, narrative, cluster sample, action research, observational method, content analysis, thematic analysis, constant comparative method, field study, theoretical sample, discourse analysis, storytelling, photovoice, focus groups, interviews, etc. 
  • Some databases offer filters to narrow your search to qualitative research.
    • PsycINFO has a Methodology filter which includes options to limit your search to papers tagged as being a Qualitative Study or having used a more specifical methodology such as focus group or interview.
    • CINAHL, Medline, and PubMed all offer an option to limit your search by Clinical Queries which includes an option for Qualitative Research. Behind these limits are pre-arranged search strategies that will be added to your subject search to filter out the best research.

Tracking Searches & Managing Results

Tracking your searches helps you to avoid unnecessary repetition in your searching and can save you valuable research time. Below are some tips to help you track your searches:


Consider logging your searches including information about:

  • When you searched
  • Where your searched and why (e.g. Google Scholar, Web of Science, PsycINFO)
  • Search terms (e.g. text words or subject headings searched)
  • Limits (e.g. Language, Date, Peer Reviewed, Publication Type, Type of Research)
  • Results (number of articles found, number of articles saved/exported to citation manager)
  • Comments (e.g. combinations that were successful or not successful, new words identified)

A table or worksheet can be useful way to log your searches. See a brief example in the Word document linked below. This could also be done in an Excel worksheet.

Printing/saving database search strategies

Some databases have options to print or save the text of your search strategy to a Word, Rich Text, or PDF document. If a database doesn't have this option you can try copying and pasting the text or snipping an image of your strategy.  To permanently save search strategies so that you can create an alert or run them again at a later date, you normally need to have an account in that database. See the tutorials below about how to to do this in platforms on which many of our databases are provided. 

Managing your results

  • When you set up an account in a database you usually also have the option to save selected results in addition to the strategy.  The tutorials above include that information.
  • Consider exporting your results to a Citation Manager. A citation management tool can help you manage your citations (i.e. references) by building a personal online filing cabinet of citations and formatting bibliographies for your papers. For more information see the Library's guide on Citation Management.