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CONN 420: The American Progressive Ideal: Tertiary Sources

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.

 

Locating Subject Encyclopedias

Subject encyclopedias are cataloged individually by title in Puget Sound WorldCat.  (To get a listing, type in "encyclopedia" and a somewhat broad topic like "utopia" or "poverty" or "American history" or "civil rights.")  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. Online subject encyclopedias are bundled together into packages (see the list below).