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Use this guide to begin your research on drought in California.

Key Search Words

Use the words below to search for useful information in books and articles.

  • California drought
  • California water
  • hydrology California
  • hydrology West

Depending on the focus of your research, other helpful terms may be:

  • desalinization
  • water conservation
  • irrigation

Get started with a video overview

Water policy and the drought are complicated issues. You may want to start with this series of videos on water issues in California produced by the Public Policy Institute of California. Access the whole play list on YouTube.

Start Learning About Your Topic

Background Reading:

It's important to begin your research learning something about your subject; in fact, you won't be able to create a focused, manageable thesis unless you already know something about your topic.

This step is important so that you will:

  • Begin building your core knowledge about your topic
  • Be able to put your topic in context
  • Create research questions that drive your search for information
  • Create a list of search terms that will help you find relevant information
  • Know if the information you’re finding is relevant and useful

If you're working from off campus, you'll need to sign in. Once you click on the name of a database, simply enter your student ID (without the W) and your six-digit birth date.

Top Picks:

All of these resources are free for MJC students, faculty, & staff. 

Create Research Questions to Focus Your Topic

The drought and water use are complex issues that involve the law, the economy, politics, and every citizen. You could concentrate on one issue and do in-depth research on that, or use several of the questions below to focus more generally on the topic of the drought.

  • What is the history of droughts?
  • What are the causes of droughts?
  • Why is drought a serious problem in California?
  • How and by whom is water used in California?
  • Where does water in California come from?
  • What are the laws regulating water use and distribution in California?
  • What are the issues involved in efforts to conserve water?
  • What are the economic effects of the drought in California?
  • What are the social or cultural effects of the drought in California?
  • What are the environmental effects of the drought in California?
  • What are some proposed solutions to the issue of water shortage?

Using & Finding Books

Why Use Books:

Use books to read broad overviews and detailed discussions of your topic. You can also use books to find primary sources, which are often published together in collections.

Where Do I Find Books?

You'll use the library catalog to search for books, ebooks, articles, and more.

What if MJC Doesn't Have What I Need?
Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 emergency, we are unable to process requests for materials from other libraries. We'll have this service up and running again as soon as campus opens and we're fully operational.

If you need materials (books, articles, recordings, videos, etc.) that you cannot find in the library catalog, use our interlibrary loan service.

Good Books to Get You Started

Find Articles in Library Databases

All of these resources are free for MJC students, faculty, & staff.

Search using the Key Search Words in this guide, or use words more specific to your topic.

If you're working from off campus, you'll need to sign in. Once you click on the name of a database, simply enter your student ID (without the W) and your six-digit birth date. 

Featured web resources

Much of the latest information on the California drought is on the web. Use these credible websites to find recent documents and reports.

Find local information on the web

Google News: stay up to date on California water issues

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Cite Your Sources

Your instructor should tell you which citation style they want you to use. Click on the appropriate link below to learn how to format your paper and cite your sources according to a particular style.