Start with Books


Reference books

  • Use reference books (specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries, bibliographies, and handbooks) early in the research process to find topic overviews.
  • Continue to use reference books throughout the research process as you discover new areas to explore.
  • Remember that reference books often synthesize the research on broad topic areas and can be more helpful than article searches when you're just starting your research. 


  • Use monographs (books that provide a detailed treatment of a single subject or an aspect of a subject) for in-depth information. Examples of monographs include a history of a single institution, an analysis of the evolution of an aspect of racial formation in education or a study of a particular period in education.
  • Monographs can be a useful source for finding primary sources.

See HOLLIS search tips for Native education and Black education.

Scholarly Articles

Although HOLLIS includes articles, the databases below focus your search by discipline and/or provide sophisticated search features to improve your results. Meet with a librarian to learn strategies for efficient, effective searching.