This page contains resources to help GIS 6500 students get started with their research. Please contact your librarian, Susan Turkel, for one-on-one assistance.

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. Try access through the Library’s print collection and/or interlibrary loan services.

  Oxford Bibliographies (Oxford University Press)
Presents peer-reviewed, annotated bibliographies and expert commentary on current scholarship in selected disciplines. Villanova University has access to the following bibliographies: Atlantic History, Biblical Studies, Cinema and Media Studies, Communication, Criminology, International Relations, Islamic Studies, Latin American Studies, Management, Medieval Studies, Political Science, and Psychology.
Tutorial available at

  Gale Virtual Reference Library
Offers access to a collection of digital encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, and directories in the arts, social sciences, business, and sciences.
A self-paced interactive tutorial is available for those new to this resource.

Discover relevant articles in encyclopedias and other reference works with the help of the library's Articles & more search option. Follow these steps:

  • Scroll to the top of any library web page
  • Select Search Articles & more from the dropdown menu
  • Type your keywords into the search box  
  • When you get the results, select the format facet Reference (see screenshot below); this will limit your results to reference book articles
  • Click the FindIt button to get to the online reference resource. Sometimes you will get to the book, sometimes to the specific article.


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.


Falvey Library Catalog
Books and book chapters in the Library's print collection are an important source of critical literature. Search results can be narrowed with facets, which appear to the right of the results. Topic, region, era, and language are generally helpful facets.

WorldCat (FirstSearch)
WorldCat is a catalog of library collections worldwide. WorldCat highlights publications available at Villanova University. Other items can be requested via an inter-library loan request form.
WorldCat Step-by-Step is a self-paced interactive tutorial for students new to this resource.

E-ZBorrow and Interlibrary Loan
Use E-ZBorrow or interlibrary loan to request resources not available in Falvey's collections.

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 - 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.