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SOC 236: Criminology (Online): Encyclopedias

This online guide will provide you with useful resources for your SOC 236 course. If you have questions or comments, please contact

Quick Tip

   How to Search in Online Encyclopedias

    Use broad terms, as encyclopedias usually provide general overviews of topics like: violence or guns

    Use quotation marks around phrases (two or more words); this tells the database to look for the words in a specific  order, like: "gun control" or "second amendment"

Reference Book Databases

Check out these encyclopedia article highlights: (Found in Gale Virtual Reference Library)

  • Gun Control, Gale Encyclopedia of American Law 
  • Gun Control: Restricting Rights or Protecting People?, Court Rulings on Firearms 



Below are a few places you can find definitions and encyclopedia articles, just remember that you will have to login with your myNOVA username and password (the same ones you use to access Blackboard, student email, etc.).

Why Use Reference Books?

An encyclopedia is a type of reference book. Use a reference book to:

  • Define important vocabulary words related to your topic,
  • Find a basic overview and main issues related to your topic,
  • Find references to additional resources, and
  • Discover important background information related to your topic.