Encyclopedias are always a great place to start your research if you are less than an expert on the topic. Not only will these articles summarize the topic for you, they will also refer to other sources of information (see their reference list at the end of the article).
Handbooks summarize the basic knowledge of a particular field or subject. Handbooks are a great place to find not only summaries of a topic but also facts, statistics, formulas and other information about the subject. Below are listed a database (Knovel) that can search the full text of many engineering handbooks and a list of specific handbooks that you may find helpful.