Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Philosophy: PL117

Resources for researchers in philosophy

Basic Philosophical Research

As you approach Philosophy...

           Think Strategically about Your Research

 > Reference Sources: Looking up background information first can save you time later - use the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (comprehensive and in-depth) and the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (at a more general level) to find > definitions, brief biographies, dates and other facts, and Credo Reference * for general information.   

> Scholarly Articles examine particular aspects of a topic, pursuing a limited investigation to answer a question or propound a thesis.

> Books may be compilations of articles on a topic area, or general surveys, or comprehensive and in-depth investigations of a topic. The table of contents, or the index, or the search function on the text of an ebook can help you isolate the portions of a book that could be useful to your own research.

  • Evaluate each source you find: who produced it? when?
    • Is it a primary source or does it discuss earlier works (secondary source)?
  • Investigate the notes and bibliographies of every good source you find for leads to more                  

Searching Tips


  • Use an asterisk to stand in for different word endings:  femin*  = feminist, feminism, etc.
  • Use quotation marks to "glue together" a phrase:  "gender roles" 
  • Use parentheses & OR to search synonyms:  (refugee OR migrant)


  • Use the various limiting parameters in sidebars of databases to narrow your search appropriately
  • Skim the terminology in entries for new keywords and synonyms to use in repeating your search


  • On the EBSCO platform, click on the Choose Databases link near the top of the screen to add another subject database to your field of search


  • Find a good book or article in a Keyword search? Look at its full record to see if there are Subject Terms. Click on these links to find other sources about that subject.

A few examples:


  • How to tell whether a journal is well regarded in the subject area that interests you: view slideshow

Record in a Database

The record below is from Academic Search Complete. Clicking on a citation in your result list will take you to a record like this:



Looking At Descartes




  • How to Read Descartes's Meditations, by Zbigniew Janowski

               B1854 .J36 2019 

  • Feminist Interpretations of Rene Descartes

               B1875 .F46 1999 

  • Locke and Cartesian Philosophy

               Ebook  2018

Questions? Email me!


Karen Gillum,

During the Pandemic...

During the pandemic


  • only Miller Library will be open during the terms
  • books in Miller can be checked out using contactless self-checkout
  • material in Bixler Art & Music Library and Olin Science Library can be requested by using the CBB Request function in the catalog
  • research assistance is available either in person or via zoom - email me at for an appointment


  • Check the  REMOTE ACCESS page.
  • Make sure you have Okta set up for access to articles in Colby databases. (You probably already do have this activated, but if you have trouble connecting to a database, check the Okta link first.)
  • Interlibrary loan connects you to even more articles electronically. Directions on how to register for ILL are here.


Special Topics



     "A discussion of philosophical concerns that refuses to identify the human experience with the male experience.... Feminist philosophers fault traditional metaphysics for splitting the self from the other and the mind from the body"

  • The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy  HQ1190 .B575 2007 
  • An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy, by Alison Stone  HQ1190 .S769 2007 
  • The Wrong of Injustice: Dehumanization and its Role in Feminist Philosophy, by Mari Mikkola  Ebook 2016

Explore the journal Hypatia: a Journal of Feminist Philosophy

Philosophy of Race



  • The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics, by George Lipsitz  Ebook 2018
  • Race and Racism in Modern Philosophy, ed. by Andrew Valls  HT1523 .R2517 2005
  • and Search the Colby Catalog for the Subject: Race - Philosophy




  • Rethinking Existentialism, by Jonathan Webber  Ebook  2018
  • Essays in Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre   B2430.S32 E5 1974        
  • L'être et le néant, essai d'ontologie phénoménologique, par J.-P. Sartre   B819 .S271
  • Black Existentialism: Essays on the Transformative Thought of Lewis R. Gordon, ed. by Danielle Davis B819 .B57 2019
  • Existentia Africana: Understanding Africana Existential Thought, by Lewis R. Gordon  B944.A37 G67 2000


Colby College on Twitter Colby College on Facebook Colby College on YouTube Colby College on Vimeo Colby College RSS Feed Search Previous Next