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Research Guides

PO203 Research Methods - Lucas: Books

Books may be an excellent source because of their greater depth of coverage compared to articles.

Start with keyword searches in either Library Catalog or WorldCat on one or more concepts related to your topic. When you find a useful book, check its catalog record for relevant Subject Headings that you can click to find further useful books.
Many politics books are generally located on the Upper Level of the library in the J call-number area.  However, depending on your particular area of interest, you may also find relevant books in other locations throughout the library. See the Geisel Library floor plan for the locations of various call numbers.

Library Catalog

Use this box to search the Geisel Library catalog for books and other materials in the library collection.

Use the hyperlinked Subject Headings to search for more books on the same subject.


Use WorldCat to search the collections of libraries worldwide. If you find a book that is not owned by Geisel Library, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan by clicking on the "Request via Interlibrary Loan" link in the book's catalog record.

How do you know if a book is academic or scholarly?

The best way to tell is to look at who publishes it. If it's published by a university press (e.g. Chicago, Harvard, etc.) or by several other academic presses (e.g., Blackwell, Routledge, Palgrave, Ashgate) it is scholarly. There are other presses that publish scholarly books as well, depending on the discipline. Another way to decide is to look at the book's intended audience and purpose.

Look for the Publisher's name listed in Library Catalog.

What is the difference between scholarly books and regular books?

Popular books are published with the intent of making money, whereas scholarly books are published regardless of whether or not they will make money. Scholarly books are produced to contribute to knowledge, and they support the research of academics, scholars, and students.

How does a scholarly book get published?

The publishing process begins when either editors of publishing houses reach out to scholars or scholars submit manuscripts to editors. Editors make the connection with scholars, but they don't make the final decision. Instead, all scholarly books go through an extensive peer review process in which experts in the field read the manuscripts and decide if the book is reliable, credible, and worthy of being published.

Look for the following features to help you identify a scholarly or academic book.

  • The topic is often very narrow and intended for a specific audience with similar research interests.
  • The text always includes cited references in-text, as footnotes, or at the end as a bibliography or reference list..
  • They often include extensive literature reviews of existing research.