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HUMA 500: Critical Methods in the Humanities (UNH Durham)

To support Nicole Ruane's class

Library Search Box

The UNH Library search box provides simple, one-stop searching for books and e-books; articles in newspapers, journals, and magazines; and video and audio

Select the Library Catalog scope to limit to books, e-books, government publications, and videos located at the UNH Library

Scholarly Books

Scholarly books are written for scholars/researchers in the author's field, and are typically intended to share research findings and contribute to the ongoing scholarly "conversation." 

Scholarly books generally have:

  • respected publishers - a university press (for example, Oxford University Press), a professional organization, or  an independent publisher specializing in academic books (for example, Routledge, Springer Nature, or Palgrave Macmillan)
  • references - a list of cited sources at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book. Some books may have footnotes at the bottom of pages.
  • expert author - scholars or researchers with known affiliations and education/ research credentials
  • language specific to that discipline - specialized terminology that often won't be defined because readers in the field are expected to know those terms or concepts already. Typically written in a formal style.

Tips for Using Books

Usually you won't need to read an entire book for a research project since you'll likely only need certain chapters or sections for satisfy your information needs.

Two good navigation aids in books are the

  • Table of Contents - usually located at the front of the book after the title page. You can scan the outline of the book's sections to see if any of the chapters cover your topic.
  • Index - usually located at end of the book. Search the alphabetical entries for your topic. The number of entries and corresponding pages will indicate how much coverage the book will offer. If your topic is listed on consecutive or multiple pages, there's a good chance the book is worth exploring further.

For e-books, you can use the "search within book" feature to locate pages with your search term(s).

In addition to the navigation aids, you can get more information by skimming the book:

  • Read the preface and introduction - this should tell you why the author is writing this book, why it's important, set out the author's argument, and outline the the information to follow
  • Read the conclusion - this should sum up the author's argument and can provide a good summary.
  • For each chapter, read the introductory and concluding paragraphs to get a sense of the information in each section.