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Why Would I Use an Encyclopedia or Reference Book for my Research?

Reference books, such as encyclopedias, handbooks and dictionaries, provide foundational information, key terms and definitions, and important concepts in the field of social work, as well as bibliographies created by experts in the field.

Surveying available reference books is a great starting point for any research project and an important step in a literature review. Examining the key articles (often found in bibliographies) in your topic area is important to understanding the history of publications on a subject.

Credo Reference offers hundreds of full-text reference books across all academic disciplines, including sociology and social work. Search for your topic to discover articles, or browse the area of "social science" to view the available reference books in your interest area. 
Gale Virtual Reference Library provides thousands of full-text articles in various areas of social work, such as culture, crime, gender, religion, and juvenile studies. Search all reference books using the box at the top of the screen, or click on a subject area in order to search only the books in that area.
Sage offers reference books in sociology, criminology, social work, and social care, among other areas, with over 20 full-text books in the social sciences. Use the right-hand panel of your search results to select only reference material and only "content available to me" to access the reference books subscribed to by IWU.

Sampling of Social Work Reference Ebooks