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Finding scholarly resources for Scope & Methods of Political Science: Scholarly Books

Locating Scholarly Monographs

While the OCCC Library has a wide variety of resources, students in the Scopes class should start with scholarly books for their research.

To identify whether or not a book is scholarly, look at the following:

  • Research the author.   Are they a recognized expert on this topic?  Do they hold an advanced degree?  Are they affiliated with a university or college?
  • What is the nature of the publisher?  Are they a university press (scholarly) or a mainstream press?
  • Who is the intended audience?  Is it other scholars or the general public?
  • Review the content.  Is it written in a formal, academic style?  
  • Look at the author's sources.  Is it thoroughly documented with exhaustive footnotes and/or a bibliography?  Are primary sources used?  
  • Is there an index?  This should help you navigate the book.

Most scholarly books will meet all of the above criteria.

Finding books not at OCCC

WorldCat is a library catalog that includes the holdings of thousands of libraries around the world.  Students should search WorldCat to locate materials not owned by the OCCC Library.  Most items found in the WorldCat database may be obtained by OCCC students via the Interlibrary Loan service, free of charge.

While searching WorldCat, look for the following message:

Borrow this item from another library (Interlibrary Loan)

You may click on the link and fill out a form to request the item be loaned to you by another library.  It is up to the other library to determine how long you may keep the book.  Requests to borrow books usually take around a week to fulfill.

If the "Borrow this item..." link is not present for an item you are interested, you may use the Interlibrary Loan request form or stop by the Library and fill out a paper request.  Please note that if the "Libraries worldwide that own item" number is low, it may be more difficult to fill your request.

Searching for Books in the OCCC Library

Begin with a broad topic.  For instance, religion and government or prayer in school.  More specific searches can be used when searching for articles.  

For more information on searching the Library Catalog, view the video in the box below.

You may visit the Library's homepage and select Library Catalog to begin your search, or use the box below.

Search Books, eBooks, Online Films, and More in the OCCC Library Catalog

Searching the Online Library Catalog Video (2:24)