In specialized academic encyclopedias, experts are asked to write a summary of a topic and to recommend the key readings. So they are a great start on a new topic or a way of understanding the context when part of your topic takes you into another discipline.
The editors of handbooks identify important topics in current research and select authors for literature reviews of the current state of research on each topic. These are some good examples:
Other articles published in journals and as book chapters might employ a rigorous review of existing literature. The databases below categorize articles by the research methods they employ. Searching your topic using the advanced search screen, and limiting the results by these special categories is a good way to find overviews.
In the ERIC (ProQuest) database, add one or more of these terms to your search as “SUBJECT” or “ERIC SUBJECT”:
In the PsycInfo database, add one or more of these terms to your search as “SUBJECT” or “MAINSUBJECT”: