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Theatre Arts Subject Guide: Getting Started

Start your theatre research here!

What's a tertiary source?

Tertiary sources are excellent starting points!  They consist of information synthesized from primary and secondary sources.  Examples include:

  • Almanacs
  • Chronologies
  • Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
  • Directories
  • Fact books
  • Guidebooks
  • Indexes, abstracts, bibliographies used to locate primary and secondary sources
  • Manuals
  • Textbooks

These resources give you succinct overviews of your topic, explain scholarly arguments, point out interesting questions, and refer you to especially key sources. 

Sage Knowledge

Sage provides online Encyclopedias, Handbooks and Dictionaries that cover topics in the Social Sciences.

Sage Knowledge Online

 

Gale Virtual Reference Library

Gale Virtual Reference Library includes the full text of over 100 subject encyclopedias spanning multiple disciplines.

Literature Resource Center

Recommended Starting Points

Subject Encyclopedias are scholarly works written by experts on a variety of topics. The articles are typically longer and more detailed than general encyclopedias. The background information provides a good starting point as you begin the research process. Here are some of the ways a subject encyclopedia can help guide you:

  • Understand the scope of the topic
  • Suggest ideas for narrowing the topic
  • Identify key concepts, terms, dates,and names
  • List subject areas related to the topic
  • Recommend sources for further exploration

Highlighted Online Subject Encyclopedias

    

The Oxford companion to theatre and performance This ebook covers styles and movements, organizations, regions and traditions. It has a strong focus on biographies of actors, playwrights, directors, and designers.

The Oxford companion to American theatre  A guide to the American stage from its beginnings to the present. Includes entries on playwrights, plays, actors, directors, producers, songwriters, famous playhouses, dramatic movements, classic works, commercially successful plays, and foreign figures that have influenced American dramatic development.

The Oxford companion to Shakespeare Provides a guide to Shakespeare's plays and poems, and their interpretation around the world over the last four centuries. Covers topics from the conjectured identity of the Dark Lady of the Sonnets to the misprints in the First Folio, from Shakespeare's favorite figures of speech to the staging of Othello in South Africa.

New Oxford Shakespeare Presents an entirely new consideration of all of Shakespeare's works, edited from first principles from the base-texts themselves, and drawing on the latest textual and theatrical scholarship.

Highlighted Print Subject Encyclopedias