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The Gale Virtual Reference Library
The Gale Virtual Reference Library is a platform for searching through and accessing hundreds of specific subject encyclopedia titles.
Provides full text online access to Gale electronic books, including encyclopedias and other reference resources.
You also have the option of searching individual titles within the GVRL, Here are some key titles for your research:
Science and Its Times by
Call Number: Click title to access via GVRL.
Publication Date: 2000
The seven volumes are chronologically ordered from 2000 B.C. to the present, addressing a wide variety of scientific developments with explanations of underlying factors and their effects on politics, economics, culture and daily life. The entries -- more than 20 topical essays, 25 full biographies and 85 sketches of notable people in each volume -- move forward through history, describing notable scientific discoveries and achievements along with their social and historical impact.
Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography
Call Number: Click title for access via GVRL.
Publication Date: 2008
Comprehensive collection of biographical information about scientists, engineers, and inventors from classical times through modern day.
New Dictionary of the History of Ideas by
Call Number: Click title above for access via GVRL.
Publication Date: 2005
This encyclopedia clarifies the intellectual history of more than 750 complex ideas. Like its classic predecessor, the Dictionary of the History of Ideas (1973), this new set covers core Western ideas, while expanding its coverage to include the global perspectives and gender-inclusive concepts that have evolved in the past 30 years.
Using Tertiary Sources
Subject encyclopedias are a type of tertiary source and are excellent starting points for your research into a specific scientific controversy. As you read through articles, look for the answers to these questions:
- Who are the main people involved? With what institutions, if any, are they affiliated?
- When did this controversy take place? When did it start? When did it end? What else was going on in the world?
Once you've established the basic outline of your chosen scientific controversy, evaluate it in terms of its feasibility for your research project. Key questions to answer include:
- What primary sources are available? (If the original sources are not in English, can you find reliable translations? If the primary sources were originally unpublished, do you have access to a scholarly, annotated edition of them? Or if the original documents are currently housed in a distant archive or library, are digital copies available?)
- What scholarly literature exists on this topic? In other words, what has the scholarly conversation been on this topic?