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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.

Power Point Slides for Session #1

Read More about It in The Saint Martin's Handbook

PLNU's College Composition courses use the 8th Edition of The St. Martin's Handbook as a guide to research. 

 The section beginning on page 402 provides guidance for citing sources in MLA style.  

 The section beginning on page 451 provides guidance for citing sources in APA style.

Sample Subject Encyclopedias

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

Find an Encyclopedia Article on Your Topic in Credo Reference

Use the Credo Reference database from the Ryan Library All Databases list to locate a subject encyclopedia article on your topic.   This article will provide background information for your research.

 Navigating to the Credo Reference database from the Library’s homepage:

  1. Go to the Library’s homepage (
  2. Choose the All Databases list under Quick Links (on left side of the homepage).
  3. Choose ‘C’ for Credo on the All Databases list. The Credo database is the last one listed under databases that start with ‘C.’ Note: Once you click on the Credo hyperlink, you may be directed to enter your PLNU username and password (the same as used for Canvas and PLNU email.)

See a librarian if you have questions about using Credo or using any of the Library's other reference resources.

Find a Print 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

‚ÄčNeed help? Ask a Librarian!

Woman typing on laptop computer

Find Books at Ryan Library

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 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.
  • Renew Ryan Library books by logging in and selecting "Sign In" 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 this option when requesting items that are not available at Ryan Library:

      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