Exploring Your Topic

The Library has a large number of subject-specific online encyclopedias with exhaustive and well-researched entries written by subject experts. The essays in these encyclopedias and companions are great overviews and generally helpful in defining and focusing a topic. All essays include bibliographies that lead to further sources on a topic.

Encyclopedias, Handbooks, and Other Reference Sources

  Oxford Handbooks Online (Oxford University Press)
Provides digital access in selected disciplines. Each handbook introduces and surveys the state of scholarship in a field of study through review articles written by leading subject specialists. Articles review key issues and debates and set the agenda for new research. Villanova University does not have access to the complete collection. Access print handbooks through the Library's print collection and/or interlibrary loan services.

  Oxford Bibliographies (Oxford University Press)  Tutorial
Presents peer-reviewed, annotated bibliographies and expert commentary on current scholarship in selected disciplines. Villanova University has access to the following bibliographies: African American Studies, Art History, Atlantic History, Biblical Studies, British and Irish Literature, Buddhism, Cinema and Media Studies, Classics, Communication, Criminology, Environmental Science, Geography, International Relations, Islamic Studies, Latin American Studies, Management, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Renaissance and Reformation, and Victorian Literature.

  Gale Virtual Reference Library
Offers access to a collection of digital encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, and directories in the arts, social sciences, business, and sciences.

Books and Articles

Most of the content you'll use in your research will come from books and journal articles. Use the resources below to identify the best books and articles on your topic of interest.

Books & Book Chapters

Much of the scholarly literature in the field is published in books which are often referred to as monographs. Find books in the Library’s collection with a Books & Media search. For a more comprehensive review of the literature consult WorldCat and use the integrated Borrow from other libraries feature to request books which are not locally available.

Falvey Library Catalog (Books & Media)
Keyword and subject searches in the Library's catalog are good starting points when first exploring a topic. Search results can be narrowed with facets such as topic, era, language or region. Facets are located on the right hand side of the results screen.

WorldCat (FirstSearch)
Offers comprehensive indexing of books published world-wide and highlights those available at Villanova University. Other items can be requested with an online request form. Look for the Borrow from another library link.

Presents an archive of selected core journals and books in the humanities, social sciences and mathematics.

E-ZBorrow and Interlibrary Loan
Requests books that are not available on campus from other libraries.

Journal Articles - Interdisciplinary Sources

Articles & More Search
Search all the library’s e-resources simultaneously. While results may be fuzzy and overwhelming, Articles & More is easy to use and can be helpful as long as results are limited to peer-reviewed journals.

A searchable and browsable archive of full-text core journals in the humanities, social sciences and mathematics. JSTOR does not include all of the library’s journal content.

Google Scholar
Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Scholar search tips


The library subscribes to many subject-specific databases that let you narrow your search to journals and other materials in a specific discipline. These resources are organized into subject-specific research guides which are managed by Falvey's subject specialist librarians. Click Subject Guides from the library's home page to access these useful pages.


Citing Your Sources

Citation and Writing Tools - a guide by Falvey librarians

Zotero.org - go here to sign up for your Zotero account and to download the software and the browser plugin. Click here to download a quick-start guide to Zotero.

ZoteroBib - use this tool for quick, on-the-fly bibliographies. Click here to download a quick-start guide to ZoteroBib.