Encyclopedias and other reference resources are excellent places to start your research! You usually can expect to find the following important information in articles in subject encyclopedias:
- An overview of the topic, with key individuals and events identified, and often some mention of how the topic has been studied (historiography).
- Cross references to give you a sense of the boundaries of the topic and its relationship to other topics.
- Look for "see also" at the beginning or end of the article.
- Some encyclopedias highlight words in the text of the article to indicate that there is a separate entry on that topic.
- Identification of primary source materials.
- Bibliographies of key secondary literature (books and articles) on the topic.
- Scholarly editions of primary sources may be listed in the bibliography.
- The main body of the article may mention key primary source writings and their author(s).
- Some encyclopedias include excerpts of primary source materials.