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Sociology of Education: Getting Started

Related Penn Libraries guides

Bibliographies and Guides to the Literature

Bibliographies are lists of works organized around a topic, while guides to the literature are systematic introductions to the literature of a field.

Literature reviews are a handy way to get quickly into the scholarly literature. A typical literature-review article will provide a narrative that identifies and describes dozens of journal articles and books.

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Use dictionaries and encyclopedias to learn quickly about the state of research on your topic. A good encyclopedia article should describe major themes, current research fronts, and controversial areas; it should also provide a brief bibliography of classic, important, or definitive works on your topic.

Readers and Anthologies

Not quite a handbook, guide to the literature, or literature review, readers and anthologies can be useful for quick access to classic works or model works on specific topics.

The SAGE Major Works anthologies leverage SAGE Publications' depth in social sciences publishing. For each set, the introductory "Overview" essays serve as literature reviews or handbook chapters. The remainder of each set is bibliographic citations for articles or book chapters highlighed in the "Overview".

HINT! Use the PennText Article Finder to locate fulltext for cited articles. The Penn Libraries have a subscription to all SAGE ejournals and their backfiles, and PennText should point successfully to fulltext.


Handbooks generally offer chapters on specific aspects of a topic. As a collection of essays, the handbook's chapters should provide a broad overview of the state of research; individually, chapters may be narrowly focused.

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