Reference Sources

Use reference sources--specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries, bibliographies, and handbooks available online and in print--early in the research process. These sources provide topic overviews and background knowledge. To search for reference sources in HOLLIS, add (encyclopedias OR dictionaries OR bibliographies OR handbooks) to your search or use the right menu to limit to reference sources. 

Selected reference sources:


Monographs (books that provide a detailed treatment of a single subject or an aspect of a subject) provide in-depth information. Examples of monographs include a history of a single institution, an analysis of the evolution of an aspect of black education or a study of a particular period in education. Monographs can also be a useful resource for identifying primary sources.

Selected Monographs: 


Dissertations may provide substantial coverage of topics not widely researched and are a good source of literature reviews and references. They treat emerging areas of research and provide access to new voices. 

To search for dissertations in HOLLIS, select the "Dissertations" checkbox under Resource Type to filter your search. See HOLLIS Search Tips for a guide to subject headings and keywords.

Additional sources for dissertations: 

Scholarly Articles

Although HOLLIS includes articles, databases focus your search by discipline and/or provide sophisticated search features to improve your results.

HOLLIS Databases is a tool for identifying specialized search engines and large collections of digital materials. Custom search options include the types of materials contained in the database (“content type”), custom subject categories (“subject category”), and the ability to search by vendor (“publisher/producer”). 

Once you're in an individual database, refer to its search tips for help, use the keywords suggested in this guide, or meet with a librarian to explore databases, search terms, and strategies. 

Below is a list of databases to get you started:

Key Journals