Scholarly subject encyclopedias provide background information about specific topics. Entries or articles, written by scholars or subject experts, include bibliographies or suggested readings that will lead to more information on your topic.
You can use subject encyclopedias to identify keywords for your research in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
Encyclopedias are tremendously useful resources, especially for researching a new topic. Encyclopedias provide summaries of research topics to get you up to speed quickly: important research findings and researchers, discussions and critiques of theoretical models and methodologies. The summary is followed by a bibliography, leading you to the important articles and books in that area.
Search for entries across encyclopedias in the Social Sciences. Subject coverage includes counseling, criminology, education, geography, health and social care, media and communication, politics science, psychology, and sociology.
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.
The encyclopedias listed are also designed to provide overview, background, synthesis and a quick examination of a topic. Articles are written by discipline experts for general readers and often will include a selected bibliography of the important works on a particular topic. While some of the encyclopedias listed are also available online, most of these are located on the second floor of the library.