Need background on your topic? Start with our encyclopedias & specialized dictionaries:
Credo Reference Online
This resource is an online version of a good basic reference collection. It covers nearly every topic in all subject areas. It is one of my favorite starting points for background on major people in history, science, and technology. I also like it to find background on ideas, theories, and movements.
Gale Virtual Reference Library
While this is a good reference collection, they are all published by Gale, a major reference book publisher. What is in this collection is not included in the others listed.
Oxford Reference Online
Oxford publishes some of the more comprehensive subject encyclopedias and handbooks in the social sciences and humanities. A great starting point for the society aspects of any topic.
One of my favorite sources for handbook, manual, and encyclopedia style information in the social sciences.
--- If you are not finding your topic, try Britannica Online, a general encyclopedia.
What is Wikipedia good for? The references to the article and the additional reading suggestions.
You would NEVER cite encyclopedias, and especially not Wikipedia or Britannica, in an academic paper.