Encyclopedias are useful in several ways:
- getting background info on an unfamiliar topic, and/or
- finding quick facts
- finding sources for further research
Here’s an example, from the Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change, of sources for further research at the end of the article on “Adaptation”:
The information given in lists like this should be enough for you to be able to locate the original publications, whether online or in print.
You should NOT rely on ANY encyclopedia as the ultimate authority for your research. Articles in encyclopedias are starting points, not ultimate goals, in the research process.
There are literally thousands of encyclopedias–both in print and online–devoted to specific subject areas. Here are a few sample titles:
- Encyclopedia of global warming and climate change
- International Encyclopedia of Communication Online
- The Oxford companion to Shakespeare
We also of a large collection of subject encyclopedias (and other reference works) called the Gale Virtual Reference Library. It contains well over 100 different items. You can search the entire collection or individual titles within it.
Finding Subject Encyclopedias
Here are two ways to find Subject Encyclopedias for various fields of study:.
Do a Subject Search in ALICE, with encyclopediasadded at the end of the Subject Term, e.g.,