When you’re just getting started with research, it’s often helpful to have an informed, broad overview of a topic. Encyclopedias are the perfect resource for this purpose.
Unlike journal articles, which are often focused and specific, academic encyclopedia articles give you the big picture of an issue or topic. The Barber Library has purchased a number of excellent academic encyclopedias.
Unlike Wikipedia, articles in these encyclopedias are written by experts and are signed, so that you know who wrote them. Even better, you CAN cite these academic encyclopedias in your paper. Use encyclopedia articles to identify key terms, important issues, and leading people in your topic.
You can find a list of the encyclopedias COCC has, organized by subject, by going to the Library’s website, and clicking on the “Encyclopedias and More” icon.
Once on this page, the best thing to do is search an entire collection of encyclopedias, like Credo Reference, which is an online reference collection containing over 500 books.