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How to do Research: Session 1: Research as Inquiry

Use this guide to begin research on a new topic and to learn more about Ryan Library's research tools.

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

Pg. 205-206: Finding books to use as sources

Sample Subject Encyclopedias

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of specialized encyclopedias available in Ryan Library:

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!

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Find Books at Ryan Library

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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