Secondary resources in the social sciences are information sources that provide an in-depth discussion of research on a topic or an overview of it. These resources are very useful for seeing the bigger picture as well as identifying important research that has been conducted in that subject domain. In sum, use secondary sources to:
Often times a particular topic gains ongoing scholarly interest that attracts the interest of a publisher or research organization. Authors who are known in the particular field of study are often asked to contribute chapters or to provide editorial oversight for these types of publications. Handbooks can provide a useful overview of the topic and help you identify some of the "movers and shakers" in that particular area of research.
Video: Using LionSearch for Discovering Handbooks. LionSearch allows you to search multiple databases at one time. This video will demonstrate how to find articles from scholarly handbooks using the topic "poverty rates." Showing you how to:
EL Lesson 2: Using LionSearch for Handbooks Video Transcript (Links to an external site.)
QUICK SEARCH TIP FROM THE VIDEO: use the advance search in the resource LIONSEARCH Type in the search terms you are looking for. For example: deviance OR "social control". In the next search box, but in the term "handbook" and change it from ALL FIELDS to TITLE.
What is wrong with using Wikipedia?
Nothing is wrong with using Wikipedia as long as you understand its limitations, particularly as it relates to academic research. Information on Wikipedia is contributed freely by anyone who wants to post information without any consideration for the authority or credibility of the author.
Does this mean that all of the information on Wikipedia is inaccurate? No, it simply means that you need to be more cautious about the information and recognize that this is a dynamic resource that changes over time. Consequently, it is not good practice to cite Wikipedia entries in academic research, but Wikipedia can be a great resource as you begin to explore a topic or to settle a bet with your roommate.
Helpful Resources and Hints for Finding Articles in Encyclopedias
Video: Gale Virtual Reference is a collection of over 1000 scholarly and general reference resources. This video will demonstrate how to find articles using the topic "fertility rates." Showing you how to:
Limit your search
Expand your search
Point out some of the important features of an article to keep in mind
Explore information about the encyclopedia
Demonstrate how to cite the article using APA.
EL Lesson 3: Library Search Gale Virtual Reference Video Transcript (Links to an external site.)