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ENVS 225: Institutions & the Environment: Finding Social-Ecological Systems

Taught by Dr. Tracy Yandle the class considers the form and function of existing social institutions used to govern environmental interactions and collective choice, including markets, bureaucracies and agencies, democracies, and NGOs.

Brainstorming Ideas

Answer the following based upon Elinor Ostrom's Science article "A General Framework for Analyzing Sustainability of Social-Ecological Systems:

  1. Where? A country, a city, a region, a lake, etc.
  2. What? identify the natural resource or species (Try Web of Science or Environmental Science Collection)
  3. Who manages? management, park rangers, government agencies, commons, fishermen, farmers, etc (Try the Institutions search)
  4. When? What time frame are you studying? Books will find the historic information (aka background and general information) whereas newspaper articles can capture the current story
  5. Whose perspective are you studying? An ecologist's? If so, use scientific journal articles found in Web of Science. Whereas for a policy analyst, it would be best to use journal articles in PAIS. Economists publish in Econlit or Social Sciences Abstracts for example. Or to understand the industry and/or financial markets impacting CPR, try ABI Inform Complete. To obtain a perspective of the community, try newspaper articles, documentaries, social media, or the web sites for labor groups and associations. You can find these and other databases at Databases@Emory.

Using Databases to Find Articles

Databases like JSTOR, LexisNexis, and Academic Search Complete provide citations and/or full text of journal articles, books, and other materials. Emory University Libraries pay for access to the contents of more than 400 databases. See our Databases page for a complete listing. For help with searching databases, see our Finding Articles at Woodruff research guide.

Access from off-campus is available only to current Emory University students, faculty and staff, and requires an Emory Network ID and password.

Finding a Topic

Documentaries are good resources to find different perspectives and voices when exploring common pool resource issues. Documentaries can be found from many NGOs and web sites. 

A free online report written by Ostrom and other's for the National Research Council along with similar texts, can provide examples for selecting a topic. Drama of the Commons

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