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Source Types

This guide describes and will help you locate the many different kinds of sources that contribute to a well-rounded research paper.


stack of booksBooks are essential resources for many research projects, covering virtually any topic, fact or fiction.

Why use books to do research?

  • Books provide in-depth information and analysis on a topic
  • Books often give valuable background information on a topic
  • Books can put your topic in context, helping you understand all the pertinent issues 
  • Books lead you to other sources through their bibliographies and references

Getting started with encyclopedias!

Encyclopedias are ideal starting points for any research project or problem. They can provide:

  • background or introductory information on a topic
  • information about important dates, events, and people related to a topic
  • definitions of relevant terms and terminology
  • bibliographies of further sources to consult on your topic

The CCC Library has many great print reference books. Entering your search terms and hitting "Search" will take you to the advanced search page; just hit "Submit," and you're off! Remember to search using general words, like "prisons," not very specific ideas like "prison discrimination in Colorado." 

Books at the Contra Costa College Library

Ebook Databases

All ebooks in the CCC library collection are available for free 24/7 through the library's databases - just log in with your Insite username & password.