Fundamental to that process is a careful engagement with primary and secondary sources. However, if you are new to a topic, it is best to start with reference sources (sometimes called tertiary sources). These sources, such as dictionaries, handbooks, and encyclopedias, provide overviews of topics by condensing and summarizing primary and secondary sources. On this page you will find reference sources which are useful for gaining an understanding of the background and context of your topic. Such an understanding will help you frame your research project.
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Provides web access to 100 major Oxford University Press dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference works in the humanities, social sciences, foreign languages, science, technology and medicine, the performing arts, and religion. Works can be searched separately or across the entire databases. Includes over 1.5 million entries.
47 Sage Publication eReference titles representing many disciplines within the social sciences. These electronic encyclopedias cover topics such as juvenile justice, terrorism, social theory, crime, African American society, social welfare, education and many more themes.