An encyclopedia is a type of reference book. These are great resources for gathering background information on your topic, as well as for:
Below are a few resources where you can find reports on topics, definitions and encyclopedia article:
Britannica has an online site that is similar to Gale's Opposing Viewpoints, Procon.org
Credo Reference includes a great Mindmap tool to help you brainstorm topic ideas.
Since encyclopedia articles focus on basic, general information about a topic, what you type in the search box should also be general:
YES: "higher education"
YES: "higher education" AND cost
NO: ("higher education" OR college or university) AND (cost OR tuition OR fees) AND (roi OR "return on investment" OR value or salary)