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Geography Subject Guide: Home

Subject Guide - help and guidance on finding resources in your subject area

   Welcome to the Geography LibGuide

   Use this Subject LibGuide to help you make the most of the library and information resources and services.

New to the University?  Explore the Getting Started with the Library guide to learn all about the Library basics. 

Liaison Librarian

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Natasha Bayliss (Exeter)

Where to start your search

Library Search

Library Search will help you discover books, journals, articles, audio visual material and more on your chosen topic. This is a good place to start when you are beginning to research a topic as you can draw on content from a variety of different sources.

For more in depth research in databases and archives, use the A-Z Databases List.

Areas of Geography

During your studies you may need to look at different aspects of geography. The following tabs provide key topic areas for physical and human geography.

The terms can be used as a starting point in Library Search to explore the resources available to you. They can be used to access hundreds of online books related to geography, find print books in the Library or find Journal Titles and articles that relate to your research/study area, drawn from a wide range of full text sources.

Print books are arranged in Dewey Decimal Classification order.  This means that books on similar topics are grouped together.  Find out more with our how to find books guide

For targeted searching, select a research database and explore the published literature in your field. Key databases are flagged below.

Human geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of patterns and processes that shape the human society. Areas include:


Cultural Geography Population Geography / demography
Development Geography Religion
Economic Geography Social Geography
Health Geography Transportation
Historical Geography Tourism
Political and Geopolitics Urban Geography


Physical geography focuses on geography as an Earth Science. Areas include:  


Biogeography Hydrology and Hydrography
Climatology and Meteorology Landscape ecology
Coastal Geography Oceanography
Environmental Management Palaeography
Geomorphology Quaternary Science
Glaciology Soil Geography / Pedology

Expand your searching

There are a wide range of online resources that will help you trace books, journal articles and much more, to support your  study and research.  Key resources are highlighted in the adjacent tabs.

Explore the how to find resources guide as a starting point. 

Research databases index the global literature and provide references to journal articles, books, conference proceedings, reports etc that match your search criteria. They help you to find information about previous publications in your research field.

Use the Environment Complete tutorials for an introduction to the database.

Use the Web of Science LibGuide for comprehensive support and training.

You can see a full list of relevant databases in the A-Z database listing under Geography.

Use the Databases A-Z List to access all the resources available to you. You can browse by subject (e.g. Geography) or type (e.g. maps, news, images etc.) or search to find your required resource.


You can use the following services to explore research materials available elsewhere

  • Library hub discover - Search a trial database of UK and Irish academic, national & specialist library catalogues.

  • WorldCAT - search the collections of libraries in your community and tens of thousands more around the world.  

  • The European Library - access to the collections of the 48 National Libraries of Europe and leading European Research Libraries.

  • The Library of Congress -  catalog records for books, serials, manuscripts, maps, music, recordings, images, and electronic resources in the Library of Congress collections in the USA.

  • CORE - gives an incredibly fast search of the full-text of 80M open access research resources

Online Tutorials

Geography finding and using library resources tutorial link

I am looking for ...

You are likely to use a wide range of different types of information sources for your study and research. 

As well as academic sources such as books and journals,  you may wish to consult news sources, official publications, statistics etc. 

Use the online support highlighted here to guide your searching.  

  • News sources can be invaluable research resources. 
  • They provide contemporaneous accounts of events as they emerge and unfold, affording a snapshot of developments at a point in time.
  • You can engage in historical research by tracing commentary on issues over time, to identify and track changing political, economic and social trends. 
  • The availability of news resources online allows for very effective and comprehensive searching, in a way that was impossible with print or microfilm / microfiche editions of the newspapers 

Find out more on the News LibGuide.

  • Official publications are documents and other resources produced by Parliament and Government during the course of parliamentary and government business.
  • Content ranges from statements of law and policy to government reports and statistics.  
  • These publications can be a very valuable primary research source as they address all aspects of governmental work such as science, education, law, agriculture, transport, health etc.

Find out more in the Official Publications LibGuide.

  • Statistics is the science of collecting, analysing and presenting numerical data.

  • Statistical data can be found on a huge variety of subjects, for example the economy, employment, the environment, government, health, international trade, manufacturing, and population.

  • They can be a vital source of information for your studies.

Find out more on the Statistics LibGuide.

If you would like to find films and documentaries, these are some of the key resources.

For more audiovisual resources, see the A-Z database list.

I am looking for...

The following tabs highlight a range of Geography specific information sources which you may wish to consult.

You may also find topic guides such as the Tourism Management LibGuide and Primary Source LibGuide useful.

To explore further resources visit the Searching for specific types of information libguide


The Census (UK) is undertaken by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Census data is available to academic institutions via the UK Data Service. The Census Data LibGuide provides full details about the resources available to you and how to effectively search these resources.

We have extensive access to map resources through our Digimap collections. They provides online access to contemporary, historical, topographic, thematic maps and more.

To explore our map collections take a look at the maps Libguide.

What is Geographic Information Systems (GIS)?

GIS is a system that collects, displays, manages and analyzes geographic information.  GIS is used for many purposes that range from calculating space, analyzing spatial relationships, patterns or trends to cartography, visualization, and site management. GIS Software available includes ArcGIS Online. There are many resources available to help you on the GIS resources LibGuide.

If you would like to find resources on using statistics for geographical research here are some introductory texts.

TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas. You'll find talks on all sorts of topics from the TED homepage, including ones on the Environmentsustainability, urban planning, mathematics / statistics and many more.

Effective Searching & Referencing

It is important to plan your search strategy, and manage your search results so that you get the most from your online searching.

Keep a record of all the material you need to cite in your assignments, papers, projects etc. 

Use the Search Techniques and Referencing guidance to assist you.

  • It is  easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information available to you.  
  • Invest time in planning an effective online search strategy so that you can quickly and easily discover relevant and high quality information. 


As you search you need to keep track of all the material you will be using in your academic work so that you can cite and reference it appropriately.

Top Tip

Always check your module handbook for specific departmental guidance on the style required for your assessed works and dissertations.  Check with your personal tutor or dissertation supervisor if you need clarification.

For more guidance take a look at:

Find out more about the skills support available to help you develop a range of study skills including essay writing, referencing, critical reading and getting the most out of lectures.

Study Skills Support

Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a great resource to use when you are planning and conducting your research. 

It is targeted at social science researchers but is useful across all subject areas as it covers key research methodology topics that are applicable across the research spectrum.

Sage have produced a comprehensive LibGuide to help you get the best from the resource.

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University of Exeter LibGuide is licensed under CC BY 4.0