Background Information

To help get started on your project, you may want to do a little background research. The Encyclopedia of Leadership is a great starting point. Begin by clicking the Readers Guide tab. Use these broad categories to dig deeper and read brief articles about leaders and leadership to find out which areas interest you most.

  Encyclopedia of Leadership


Once you have identified a leader for your project, you may want to read up on leadership issues in that area. Books are a good source for general information because they tend to take a broad view of the topic at hand. Scholarly journal articles are narrowly focused on one area of a topic.

For example, begin with this search of LEADERSHIP in the Library Catalog. Add your own search terms or click the links on the right to narrow the search to better fit your topic.

You can also begin exploring different aspects of leadership with the library's ample collection of books. For example, psychological aspects, religious aspects, or moral and ethical aspects. You may also be interested in leadership during organizational change, or African American leadership.

Also see this list of books geared toward student leaders.

If you find a promising book, review the table of contents and index to determine its relevance to your own research. Then begin by reading the chapters you think will be most valuable.

Scholarly Journal Articles

A scholarly journal article is a reliable source of information, written by experts in the filed and published by reputable journals. They normally focus on a single narrow topic. Use journal articles to back up claims and arguments you make in your own paper. Find articles by searching relevant article databases.

For articles related to theories of leadership and communication in leadership, search communication-specific databases.

Search using keywords that describe your topic. Once you have found a relevant article, pay attention to the subject terms that are used to describe it. Use those subject terms to improve your searches. Sample article:

"'Getting people on board': Discursive leadership for consensus building in team meetings"

 Key Communication Databases

  Communication & Mass Media Complete (EBSCO)

  Communication Abstracts (EBSCO)

  ComAbstracts (CIOS)

If your leader works in a specific area, such as politics or education, you may also want to search databases specific to that area. Here is a sample of useful databases from other disciplines.

 Article Databases in Other Subject Areas


  Social Services Abstracts (ProQuest)

  Business Source Premier (EBSCO)

Citation Chasing - Build on Your Research

Database searching is not the only way to find great scholarly articles for your research project.  Once you have found useful articles, pay attention to the sources those authors use to build their own research.  It is likely that the sources that were important to those authors will also be important to your research.  All scholarly research should include a thorough bibliography or reference list at the end of the article.

Library Materials

There are many ways to find out if Falvey has the full text of an article when you have the article citation. Check out the Finding Full Text guide for more information.

To search Falvey’s book collection, go to the Search Tab.  Use the drop-down menu to search by the title or author of the book you are looking for.

Interlibrary Loan

Articles and books that are not owned by the library can be easily borrowed through our interlibrary loan systemILLiad is best for requesting articles, and EZBorrow is the preferred method for requesting books that are available in that system.

Citing Your Sources in APA Style

Even though you have been using APA style for the past 4 years, you may be full of dread at the thought of writing your reference list.  The library is here to help!

Whether writing your reference list by hand or proofreading a bibliography, you will definitely need to have the APA rules on hand.  Check out the resources below:

  • If you find the Publication Manual confusing or scary (or both), try the APA Online Tutorial.  This video guide is clear and easy to watch.  It gives a thorough overview of how to format your paper and cite your sources.
  • For those trickier scenarios (how do I cite my class notes?  how do I cite a blog post?), try searching the APA Style Blog.  This is another official APA site, so it is an authoritative source.

Wondering how to cite your interviews and other communication with your leader? This type of research would be considered "personal communications" in APA Style. For more information, please see the APA Style for Citing Interviews. You may want to talk with your professor about how to handle these references in your paper.