Encyclopedias are designed to provide overview, background, synthesis and a quick examination of a topic. Articles are written by discplinary experts for general readers and often will include a selected bibliography of the important works on a particular topic.
Click on the title to access the online encyclopedia:
Here is a sampling of print encyclopedias providing overviews and context regarding Chicano/Latino studies topics. Note: you may want to consult subject encyclopedias covering topics of interest (e.g., Encyclopedia of Bilingual Education).
Reference sources can perform a number of information functions: define concepts and vocabulary, provide chronologies, provide a coherent overview of a topic or discipline, contextualize a subject area by virtue of the topics which are included in the scope of a particular work, get you up to speed quickly by filling in background facts and themes.