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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 books


Books 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

Books at the Contra Costa College Library

At the Contra Costa College Library, we have thousands of print books, and thousands of electronic books, for student use. Please use the links on this page to:

  • get started with reference books (available in the library) and electronic reference books (available 24/7)
  • deepen your research with print or electronic books available for checkout or online
  • find course textbooks in our Reserves collection.

Getting started with encyclopedias!

Encyclopedias are ideal starting points for any research project of 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." 

Collection Catalog Search

Ebook Databases

All ebooks in the CCC library collection are available through the library's databases, which you can access from any computer with an internet connection by providing your last name and student ID number when prompted.