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Learn to use Summon to its full potential. It is a versatile and powerful tool. The default search tab on the main library home page takes you there.

Background Info

Check background information

Use reference sources like encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks to get a general overview of your topic. Use this information to help narrow and focus your research topic.

Tip: Use bibliographies to start drilling

Note down any sources listed in the reference list or bibliography.  The lists will include: books, journal or magazine articles, or other materials. These can be good leads. You can keep drilling backwards with the bibliographies as most of the books and articles you find will themselves have bibliographies. This is one way of unearthing some of the previous scholarly work on a topic. A literature review can also work the same way.


Business Resources are different.

As well as the articles found in scholarly, popular and trade publications, there are also resources such as market research reports, demographics, statistics, financial statements, annual reports, case studies and much more. Many of these can be tracked down using our databases, but for some we need to go to other sources like government or industry websites.

Find Articles

Hundreds of thousands of articles are published in newspapers, magazines, and journals every year. The KPU Libraries subscribe to databases to help find articles on your research topics. The majority of  articles will be available online, while others are still only available in print. You may need to use Interlibrary Loans to obtain some articles.

Peer-reviewed and scholarly

A publication is considered to be scholarly if it is authored by academics for a target audience that is mainly academic, the printed format isn't usually a glossy magazine, and it is published by a recognized society with academic goals and missions. A publication is considered to be peer-reviewed or refereed if its articles go through an official editorial process that involves review and approval by the author's peers (experts in the same subject area.) Most (but not all) scholarly publications are peer-reviewed.

Summon allows searching to be limited to this type of publication. Look for the limiter on the advanced search screen. Once applied, all of your search results will be scholarly or peer-reviewed publications.


Find books

Summon is a great tool to find books, whether in print or online. You can search specific titles, search by topic, and search the contents of most ebooks and many print books.

Using Google for Research

Google Scholar

can be an excellent way to locate scholarly resources. The search engine is Google, but limited to scholarly resources including:

  • Scholarly journals
  • Theses & Dissertations
  • Patents
  • Legal opinions & Journals

With business resources, not every type of information you might be looking for will be included in Google Scholar.  It can however, be another excellent resource to know about for finding scholarly information.

Next - Evaluating Your Sources