Skip to Main Content

APSC 201 / ELEC 281 / CPEN 281 - Technical Communication

Guide to assist students with research for their technical reports.

The Role of Books in Research

Scholarly books are ideal information sources to consult in the early stages of research when you are looking for an introduction or overview of your topic. While journal articles can help you find more targeted information or a specific study related to your research area, books provide a more comprehensive overview, and may analyze a number of related studies. Additionally, because books include sub-topics, they may assist you in narrowing a broad area of interest into a narrow or more manageable research topic.



Are in-depth and cumulative studies of a topic.

✔ Include more contextual and historical information than other information sources.

✔ Are longer than other works (typically over 100 pages).

✔ May be republished in new editions to account for further research.

✔ May be available in print or electronically through UBC Library.


Books typically take longer to write and publish than other scholarly materials, which means they offer more complete coverage, but may be less current than sources like journal articles, newspaper articles, or websites.

Searching Summon for Books and eBooks

When searching in Summon, use the filter book/ebook or start your search here (already limited to books and ebooks).

Search Knovel Academic

Knovel contains dozens of handbooks in engineering and the physical sciences. Search all of Knovel, including engineering books, databases, equations, tables, graphs, and engineering cases.


Additional resources for finding books

Subject Terms

Keywords are natural language terms that you think describe your topic and typically words used to search in Summon or Google. Results may include some irrelevant content. 

Subject terms are selected words pre-defined by a database and are used to describe the content of each item within that database. Results are typically very relevant to your topic. 

Here are some useful subject terms in the catalogue that can be built on to locate resources: