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GQS 201: Introduction to Gender, Queer, and Feminist Studies

Start Your Research at the Library!

Marsha P. Johnson hands out flyers for support of gay students at N.Y.U. (photograph)


This guide is intended as a starting point for an archival, group-based research project about identity- and gender-oriented activism and movement politics from the 1960s to the 1990s.  



Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Marsha P. Johnson hands out flyers for support of gay students at N.Y.U." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1970.

Getting Started with Subject Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias and other reference resources are excellent places to start contextualizing primary sources.

Subject encyclopedias, handbooks and overviews are scholarly, tertiary works written by experts on a variety of topics. The articles are typically longer and more detailed than those found in general encyclopedias. You usually can expect to find the following important information in articles in subject encyclopedias:

  • An overview of the topic, with key individuals and events identified, and often some mention of how the topic has been debated or studied over time
  • words, phrases, names, dates, and events that can be used as keywords when searching a database
  • Cross references to give you a sense of the boundaries of the topic and its relationship to other topics
    • Look for "see also" at the beginning or end of the article
    • Some encyclopedias highlight words in the text of the article to indicate that there is a separate entry on that topic
  • Bibliographies of secondary literature (books and articles) on the topic; typically, these bibliographies point to just a few key sources, rather than overwhelming you with a comprehensive list.
  • Scholarly editions of primary sources may be listed in the bibliography
    • The main body of the article may mention key primary source writings and their author(s)
    • Some encyclopedias include excerpts of primary source materials

Featured Subject Encyclopedias

Start with these subject encyclopedias and branch out as needed. 

Print encyclopedias and dictionaries are located on the first floor of Collins Library.