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How to do Research: Session 1: Research as Inquiry

In-Class Assignment

Begin the in-class assignment by selecting the name of the librarian who is meeting with your class today.

Prof. Doug Fruehling is teaching my class.

Prof. Robin Lang is teaching my class.

Dr. Denise Nelson is teaching my class.

Find a Subject Encyclopedia on your Topic

  1. Go to WorldCat
  2. Search using a concise description of your topic plus "encyclopedias" (plural)
  3. Choose "Point Loma Nazarene University" in the pull-down menu
  4. If needed, repeat using a broader description of your topic
  5. Click on title of encyclopedia
  6. Use the "call number" to find the book in the Reference Area
  7. Use the index at the very end of the encyclopedia to find a relevant article

Need help? Ask a Librarian!

Sample Subject Encyclopedias

Find Books at Ryan Library

Image result for book images

WorldCat is Ryan Library's catalog. It includes a variety of resources:

  • Books and videos on the shelf at PLNU
  • ebooks available through PLNU
  • Articles from some of our most-used databases
  • Books available in the region for request through Camino
  • Books available around the world for request through InterLibrary Loan

A few things you should know:

  • Ryan Library books can be kept for 3 weeks and renewed for 3 more.
  • Camino books can be kept for 5 weeks (no renewal).
  • Renew Ryan Library books by logging in and selecting "My Library Account" in the upper right corner.

Access ebooks

Ryan Library subscribes to thousands of eBooks through two different ebook collections:

  • Ebook Central: A collection of over 140,000 scholarly and reference books. Ebook Central is integrated into WorldCat, but it can be searched separately using this Ebook Central link.
  • EBSCO ebooks: This collection provides full-text access to hundreds of digital books on a variety of subjects.

Requesting Materials from Other Libraries

Use these one of these options when requesting items that are not available at Ryan Library:


  • Only books can be requested from Camino.
  • Books requested via Camino take 2-5 business days.
  • Loan period is 45 days.
  • Books cannot be renewed.
  • Overdue fines will apply.   
  • Books must be picked up from the Point Loma campus.

      InterLibrary Loan

  • Articles, books and other materials can be requested from InterLibrary Loan.
  • Books requested via InterLibrary Loan may take a minumum of 7-10 business days.
  • Loan periods and renewal availability varies depending on the participating libraries.
  • Overdue fines will apply.

Click Here for ILL Request Form

Please select either the article or book form


Read more about it in St. Martin's Handbook

PLNU's College Composition courses use the 8th ed. of the St. Martin's Handbook as a guide to research. Review important information about the research process and some types of resources on the following pages:

Pg. 201-202: Beginning the research process; reference works

‚ÄčPg. 205-206: Finding books to use as sources

Pg. 200-201: Scholarly vs. popular sources

Pg. 203-204: Advanced search options

Find Articles

Easily search for articles from selected databases using the Articles tab in the Quick Search Tools box on the Library's homepage.

Ryan Library subscribes to over 80 Reference Databases. These resources offer online access to journal and magazine articles and/or citations.

Log in using your PLNU username and password.

For general research, we recommend starting with one of these two databases:

For research within a specific discipline, try starting with one of our Research Guides.

Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

What is Boolean Logic?

Did you know that using the words "and," "or," and "not" with your search terms can help you find more relevant results?  Check out this video that explains this concept called Boolean Logic: