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Background & Overviews
Tertiary sources, such as subject encyclopedias and textbooks, are excellent starting points in your research. Use them to find:
- Helpful overviews of key facts: who? what? when?
- Bibliographies of especially key scholarly works.
- Identification of important primary sources.
- Brief descriptions of main scholarly arguments: how? why?
At Collins Library, you can access subject encyclopedias in a variety of formats: print, ebook, or via larger digital collections.
Print encyclopedias are located on the first floor of the library, across from the Learning Commons. An example:
Online encyclopedias can be accessed via PRIMO, the library's discovery platform. An example:
The Oxford Companion to World War II by
Call Number: Click title to access.
Publication Date: 2002; online ed. reviewed & updated 2011
Every aspect of the war is covered including, detailed surveys of major countries; politics and grand strategy; domestic and economic issues; resistance and intelligence services; campaigns, battles, and military operations; warfare and weapons; wartime leaders and influential people; and slogans and phrases.
Large digital collections of subject encyclopedias can be accessed via several publisher-based platforms:
ABC CLIO eBooks This link opens in a new window
This eBook Collection contains encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and guides from ABC-CLIO, Greenwood Press, Libraries Unlimited, and Praeger.
Contains the complete texts of many Oxford companions, encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference titles in a fully indexed, cross-searchable database. Included in addition to articles are images, maps, timelines, bibliographies, photographs and much more.
Provides full text online access to Gale electronic books, including encyclopedias and other reference resources.
Work with a Peer Research Advisor!
The last day of peer research advising was May 8, 2022. Peer research advisors will be resuming hours in the fall!
BEAM is an acronym intended to help you think about the various ways you might use sources when writing a researched argument. Joseph Bizup, an English professor at Boston University, outlined the framework in a 2008 article. The idea has since been refined and adapted by many others.
Associate Director for Public Services
, Crime, Law, & Justice Studies
, Interdisciplinary Humanities
, Religion, Spirituality, and Society
, Science, Technology, Health & Society