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Search Gale Virtual Reference Library

Search multiple dictionaries and encyclopedias online through Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Reference Book Overviews in Salem Online


Need some good background information on your research topic?  Search multiple reference sources at once in

Salem Press Online,


Reference Books

Cover image of The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology     Cover image of International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences     Cover image of The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology     Cover image of Encyclopedia of Social Theory     Cover image of International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology     

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology | E-Book | ISBN: 9781444392630
  • International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences | Call Number: H40 .A2 I5 2008 | ISBN: 9780028659657
  • The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology | Call Number: HM425 .A23 2006 | ISBN: 0141013753
  • Encyclopedia of Social Theory | Call Number: HM425 .E47 2005 | ISBN: 0761926119
  • International Encyclopedia of Economic Socialization | Call Number: HM548 .I58 2006 | ISBN: 0415286735
  • 21st Century Sociology | Call Number: HM585 .A13 2007 | ISBN: 1412916089

*The reference books listed above are available through the Stratton Taylor Library. 

How to use Reference Sources

Reference sources, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries, are great for gathering general information a topic.  If you need definitions of words or concepts, statistical information, or background information, reference sources are a good place to start.  


While most dictionaries and encyclopedias are credible sources of information, reference sources only summarize topics, and should not be used as a substitute for scholarly research.  Some professors will not allow you to cite encyclopedias in research papers, so be sure that you understand the expectations of an assignment beforehand.  Finally, be sure to choose reference sources wisely!  Encyclopedias and dictionaries should be published by a credible source, such as a major university.  (Wikipedia is NOT considered a credible reference source, so don't use it!)  For more information about reference sources, follow the links below.