Finding and Focusing a 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 they can be very helpful in defining and focusing a topic. All essays include bibliographies that will lead to further sources on a topic.

Encyclopedias & Handbooks

Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology

Encyclopedia of social problems

21st Century Sociology

21st Century Criminology: A Reference Handbook

SAGE Knowledge
Search the Sage Knowledge reference collection in its entirety or browse specific encyclopedias such as the Encyclopedia of Homelessness, the Encyclopedia of World Poverty or the Encyclopedia of Crime & Punishment.


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.

E-ZBorrow and Interlibrary Loan
Interlibrary loans are only available for books and journals which are not owned by Falvey. The E-ZBorrow service can be used for books which the library owns, but which are currently checked out. E-ZBorrow books are provided by a local library network and tend to arrive faster than interlibrary loans.

Scholarly Journal Articles

Sociological Abstracts (ProQuest)
Indexes peer-reviewed sociology journals.

Social Services Abstracts (ProQuest)
Covers current research about social services and related areas.

Criminal Justice Abstracts (EBSCO)
Covers crime trends, crime prevention and deterrence, juvenile delinquency, juvenile justice, police, courts and sentencing.

Indexes peer-reviewed education journals and reports from government and private agencies.

Falvey Library Catalog (Books & Media)
The Articles search facet on the library website indexes a wide range of publications, both scholarly and popular. Make sure to limit your search to peer-reviewed journals if you are looking for scholarly articles. Consider a subject index such as Sociological Abstracts for more focused and relevant search results.

findit.gif  Your gateway to the full text of journal articles!

Content is available via the following links:  Click on the Article link(s) to go to the full text.
Request from Villanova document delivery or another library:  Online interlibrary loan request. It takes generally 1-2 days for the article to arrive via email.

Full text linking:

What is a scholarly journal article?

A scholarly journal article is a lengthy journal article based on primary research or original theoretical speculation and published in what is often referred to as a peer-reviewed journal. Most scholarly journal articles in the social sciences include the following elements:

Author name and affiliation
Introduction & literature review
Data & measurement
Analysis & results

For a more detailed description of the differences between scholarly journals and popular magazines click here.

News & Opinions

ABI/INFORM Complete (ProQuest)
Includes current news.

Readers' Guide Full Text Mega (EBSCO)
Indexes over 450 popular magazines as far back as 1983.

Lexis Nexis Academic  Limitations on Use
Provides full-text access to a wide range of news (national, international, regional, business, legal, and foreign language).

Citing Your Sources

Click on the image below to download the presentation slides from the workshop: