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SOC 200: Principles of Sociology (ELI): Encyclopedias

This online guide will provide you with useful resources for your SOC 200 course. If you have questions or comments, please contact Heather Blicher at

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.

Search Tips

 How to Search in Online Encyclopedias

 Use broad terms, as encyclopedias usually provide general overviews of topics.  


Use quotation marks ( "  " ) around phrases (two or more words); this tells the database to look for the words in a specific order.  

"gun control"

Reference Books Online

 This image is shared in the Public Domain under aCreative Commons Deed CC0 1.0 from

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.).