Reference works such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks provide background information on a topic. They are especially useful at the beginning of a research project because they can help you:
Here is a selection of sociological dictionaries. For additional dictionaries both in print and online, search our online catalog for the subject heading: Sociology -- Dictionaries.
Here is a selection of general sociological encyclopedias. For additional encyclopedias both in print and online, search our online catalog for the subject heading: Sociology -- Encyclopedias.
For more online encyclopedias, try searching Credo Reference, which is an online collection of dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, etc. covering topics from the arts to the sciences and including a large number of sociology reference sources.