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SSI1-118 | Doing Gender

Background Sources: Online Reference Collections

These online collections will introduce you to a wealth of dictionaries and encyclopedias saving you hours of research time later on by helping you define and refine the parameters of your research question.

Here's what subject encyclopedias provide:

  • a broad overview of a topic that is more in-depth than in general encyclopedias
  • Discussion of how scholars have approached, explored, and debated the topic over time (historiography)
  • words, phrases, names, dates, and events that can be used as keywords when searching a database
  • bibliographies in articles to find other sources (both primary and secondary)
  • cross-references to find related topics

Why Use Subject Encyclopedias

Starting your research with subject encyclopedias will save you hours of research time later on by helping you define and refine the parameters of your research question.

Entries are written by scholars and reviewed by other scholars prior to publication, ensuring that the information is authoritative.

Essays in subject encyclopedias provide more than the facts; they also review how scholars have been interpreting and debating these facts.

Most entries include bibliographies or suggestions for further reading; typically, these bibliographies point to just a few key sources, rather than overwhelming you with a comprehensive list.  Sometimes the bibliographies are annotated.

Entries may provide cross-references ("see also" suggestions), which will help you discover related ideas and concepts.

Entries provide specific terms and language to use when you later search databases for other scholarly material.

by Peggy Burge

Locating Subject Encyclopedias

Subject encyclopedias are cataloged individually by title in Primo.  To get a listing, type in "encyclopedia" and a broad topic like "Gender" or "Men" or "Women" or "Communication."  Subject encyclopedias at Collins Library may be in print format, or, when available, in electronic format.  Print subject encyclopedias are located in call number order in the reference section on the first floor of the library next to the Learning Commons. Online subject encyclopedias are bundled together into packages (see the list below).  Or can be searched individually (see previous tab).

Online Encyclopedias

Listed here are a few suggested resources to use for your 'Subject Encyclopedia Presentation.' These titles may all be accessed online by clicking on the title.  You may then do a general keyword search within the title you've selected or browse the tables of contents.