*Research in the Social Sciences

A guide for individuals researching in sociology, psychology, political science, and neuroscience.

Why use reference materials?

Reference sources are reliable starting points for exploring topics. Definitions, overviews, chronologies, facts, and biographies are some of the types of information found in reference works.

Encyclopedias for the Social Sciences

Encyclopedias provide concise, yet in-depth, background information about specific topics. Articles in encyclopedias often provide additional reading lists and serve as basic introductions to topics. Below are several encyclopedias relating to the social sciences.


Librarian Charlene


Dictionaries provide definitions of terms and concepts as well as their usage. They help to clarify terminology and can provide clues to useful search keywords.

Annual Reviews

Annual Reviews are comprehensive literature reviews on topics; they are not empirical articles, but summaries of other empirical studies.  Use them to familiarize yourself with the research in an area and to mine the references for original empirical research studies.   You can browse them or use the Advanced Search to search within specific ones.