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ENGL 348: Illness and Narrative: Tertiary Sources

Getting Started with Subject Encyclopedias

Subject encyclopedias, handbooks and overviews are scholarly, tertiary works written by experts on a variety of topics. An hour spent with one or more subject encyclopedias early on in the research process will save you hours of wasted time! Start your research by consulting subject encyclopedias from many different disciplines. The entries will help you develop a multidisciplinary perspective on your topic and will allow you to develop strong research questions to explore. Articles in subject encyclopedias are written by scholars who have deep specialization in the topic and the articles themselves go through a stringent editing process.  Here's what subject encyclopedias provide:

  • 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

In Collins Library, the print reference collection is located on the first floor, and most of the online reference collection is available in one of the database collections listed on the right.  Use Primo to identify subject encyclopedias in either format; or ask a librarian for recommendations.

Online Reference Collections

Subject Encylcopedias

Start with these subject encyclopedias and branch out as needed. 

Primary Source Anthologies

Not sure where to start?  Try browsing through these anthologies of primary sources:

Literary Criticism

Resources for "Hot Topics"

Need Help?

This subject guide highlights only a small portion of the many resources available to you. If you're not finding what you need, don't hesitate to contact Katy!

Katy Curtis, Humanities Librarian
email: kcurtis@pugetsound.edu
Schedule an appointment
tel: (253) 879-3672
office: Collins Library 140

If you can't find Katy, remember there are several ways to get help with your research

For immediate assistance, connect to our 24/7 Ask a Librarian chat service.