Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Reference materials such as encyclopedias and dictionaries are often an excellent starting point for research. They offer reliable background information on many issues and topics.
Background Resources provide excellent coverage of Hot Topics that provide a good foundation for understanding many current issues.
Background Research: Social Issues
Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints This link opens in a new window
A one-stop source for information on a variety of social issues. Access viewpoint articles, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, links to websites, as well as full-text magazine and newspaper articles.
CQ Researcher This link opens in a new window
Non-partisan, comprehensive reports for the political science, journalism and economics researcher; investigated and written by seasoned journalists and authors. They cover such topics as health care, criminal justice, political and social trends, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the economy.
Issues & Controversies This link opens in a new window
Issues & Controversies explore more than 800 timely, in-depth, and objective articles on topics such as politics, government, business, education, and popular culture. It is updated weekly and provides links to a 13-year backfile. Also included are links to news coverage, pros and cons statements, timelines, statistics, etc.
Gale in Context: Biography This link opens in a new window
Biography in Context includes over 700,000 biographical entries covering more than 400,000 notable international figures from all time periods and areas of study.
Reference: Online Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Gale eBooks This link opens in a new window
Full-text encyclopedias and dictionaries.
Credo This link opens in a new window
Provides access to hundreds of online reference books including encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and books of quotations from a variety of publishers. Covers both general reference and subject-specific reference titles for a variety of disciplines. Topic Pages give great background overviews on subjects.
Wiley Online Library This link opens in a new window
Articles, journals, and books published by Wiley across a variety of disciplines.
Oxford Reference This link opens in a new window
Oxford Reference contains full text dictionaries and encyclopedias from the Oxford University Press. It is easy to search and contains entries on a wide array of topics from business, computing and environmental science to art, biology, literature, religion, and political science.
Oxford English Dictionary This link opens in a new window
The Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. The OED covers words from across the English-speaking world, from North America to South Africa, from Australia and New Zealand to the Caribbean. It also offers the best in etymological analysis and in listing of variant spellings, and it shows pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet.