The Library has a large number of subject-specific online encyclopedias with exhaustive and well-researched entries written by subject experts. The essays in these encyclopedias and companions are great overviews and they can be very helpful in defining and focusing a topic for a paper. In addition, these resources can supplement classroom learning.  All essays include bibliographies that will lead to further sources on a topic.

The Blackwell Companion to Major Classical Social Theorists
This resource offers essays on Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Parsons and others with detailed bibliographies.

The Blackwell Companion to Major Contemporary Social Theorists
This resource offers essays on Emerson, Foucault, Elias, Habermas and others with detailed bibliographies.

The New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory
This resource explores areas such as functionalism and social systems theory, structuralism and poststructuralism, actor network theory, rational choice theory, and social constructionism.

Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology
This resources includes entries ranging from extended explorations of major topics (such as Social Problems, Concepts and Perspectives; Politics of Social Problems; and Homelessness) to short definitions of key terms (such as variables, multivariate analysis and correlation).

Encyclopedia of American Urban History
This resource offers an interdisciplinary approach by covering topics from economics, geography, anthropology, politics, and sociology.

21st Century Sociology. A Reference Handbook
This comprehensive resources contains entries on topics such as Sociological Theory in the 21st Century; Qualitative Methodology; Quantitative Methodology; The Sociology of Culture; Social Stratification; The Sociology of Racial and Ethnic Relations; The Sociology of Gender; Family Sociology in the 21st Century; The Sociology of Religion; The Sociology of Education; Social Problems; The Sociology of Deviance; Criminology; Juvenile Delinquency; The Sociology of Corrections; Social Movements; Feminist Theories; The Sociology of Men and Masculinity; The Sociology of Mental Health; Applied Sociology; Criminal Justice Studies; Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Studies; Victimology.

Encyclopedia of Homelessness
This resource reflects an effort to organize and summarize what we know about homelessness.  The Encyclopedia focuses on the current situation in the United States, with a comparative sampling of homelessness around the world in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, France, Guatemala, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe.

Encyclopedia of Social Problems
The Encyclopedia of Social Problems offers an interdisciplinary perspective into many social issues that affect us at personal, local, regional, national, or global level. With more than 600 entries, this resource covers major theories, approaches, and contemporary issues in social problems and also provide insight into how social conditions get defined as social problems, and the ways different people and organizations view and try to solve them. Key Themes: Crime and Deviance, Economics and Work, Education, Family, Gender Inequality and Sexual Orientation, Health, Housing and Urbanization, Poverty and Social Class, Race and Ethnic Relations and Social Theory.

Encyclopedia of Measurement and Statistics
This resource addresses concepts and issues in statistics and measurement with entries such as descriptive statistics, evaluation, inferential statistics, probability, qualitative methods, statistical techniques, and statistical tests.

Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods
This resource includes entries such as Analysis of Variance, Association and Correlation, Basic Statistics, Experimental Design, Feminist Methodology, Interviewing in Qualitative Research, Multiple Regression, Qualitative Data Analysis, Sampling in Surveys, Significance Testing, Simple Regression and Survey Design.

Encyclopedia of Crime & Punishment
This resource includes entries on Crimes and Related Behaviors, Law and Justice, Corrections, Victimology, Punishment, Concepts and Theories, and Research Methods and Information.

African American Studies Center Online
The database provides students, scholars and librarians with online access to the finest reference resources in African American studies. At its core, AASC features the new Encyclopedia of African American History 1619-1895; Black Women in America, and the highly acclaimed Africana, a five-volume history of the African and African American experience. The Center also includes the African American National Biography project and the Encyclopedia of African American Art and Architecture. In addition to these major reference works, AASC offers other key resources from Oxford's reference program, including the Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature and selected articles from other reference works.