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ENGL 1900: Library Research Tutorial

Library research tutorial for students in English 1900: Advanced Strategies of Rhetoric & Research at SLU.

Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias contain short, factual entries by contributors with expertise on the topic. There are two types of encyclopedias: general and subject. General encyclopedias contain concise overviews on a wide variety of topics. Subject encyclopedias provide in-depth entries focused within a single field of study. Encyclopedias are an excellent place to start your research.

Example subject encyclopedia:

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The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues

You can find encyclopedias in the SLU Libraries Catalog and search across hundreds of encyclopedias at once using Gale eBooks.

Use encyclopedias to:

  • find background information and gather important dates, names, and concepts.
  • learn more about an issue to help broaden or narrow your topic.
  • find definitions relevant to your topic.

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Encyclopedia entries will not usually meet your instructor's definition of a scholarly source, but they are often written by experts in the field, especially subject encyclopedias and may lead you to other scholarly sources through the bibliography or references.