Sustainable and Renewable Energy (for Public Policy and Statistics)

Most databases, whether they are a library catalogue or a specialized database, allow you to search for books, journal articles, and more, with a single search.  You can then narrow your results with filters, or more advanced search options.

  • Some suggested subject headings or keyword search terms:
    • energy
    • policy
    • conservation
    • development
    • renewable
    • solar
    • water
    • wind
    • alternative
    • biofuels
    • power
    • fossil fuel
  • Once you've decided which terms are the most useful for your search, combine them in a boolean search. For example:
    • 'wind energy' AND canad* AND policy
      • the quotes will keep the words together
      • the * will look for alternate endings
      • AND/OR will modify a component to narrow or expand your results
  • Once you see your search results, some filters to consider applying are:  books, or Journals, or Scholarly and/or Peer Review
    • You can then narrow your search further by:  Publication Date or Discipline, or Subject, etc.
  • watch for any other words that are being used in your results, for example, 'water power' may be more common than 'tidal power', search both

Grey literature is an important source of information for research in public policy that: 

  • adds a valuable global perspective
  • provides detailed overviews on specific populations
  • may be only source of local information

Grey literature is defined as "information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing" ie. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body." —ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997. Expanded in New York, 2004

Library resources


Policy Reports and Working Papers

Think Tanks

Government Information 

Industry Associations

Look for an industry association by doing a Google search such as solar energy association or sustainable energy association.   (eg. Ontario Sustainable Energy Association)         

Other sources of information relating to energy resource issues

Look for Municipal websites or groups of municipalities that have formed organizations for a common interest, some examples:

What is the Difference Between Data and Statistics?

Data are the raw materials out of which statistics are produced, usually available as digital files for manipulation in statistical software.  Statistics are facts or figures that tend to be aggregate counts, totals, sums, or averages.



Content last reviewed: July 8, 2020