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Education: Handbooks, Encyclopedias, Dictionaries

Finding Reference Works

Reference works are an important source for concept definitions, overview articles, and short bibliographies.  The Penn Libraries continues to acquire print and online reference works. These are accessible thorugh Franklin Catalog. 

 Search example: subject:leadership AND (handbook* OR encyclopedia* OR dictionar*)

Also, see the literature-review journals on this guide's "Literature Reviews" tab.


Online Reference Collections

Directories: Associations, Faculty, Research Centers

Gale Directory Library - Includes these Gale Reference Directories (select within the search interface)

  • Encyclopedia of Associations: International Organizations
  • Encyclopedia of Associations: National Organizations of the U.S.
  • Encyclopedia of Associations: Regional, State and Local Organizations
  • National Faculty Directory
  • National Directory of Non-Profit Associations
  • Research Centers Directory
  • Publishers Directory
  • Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media
  • Scholarships, Fellowships, and Loans.

Statistical Sources

For Statistical Sources, see these additional guides:

Non-Profits / Foundations / Grants

PennKey Required

Foundation Directory - provides current, accurate, and comprehensive information on U.S. grantmakers and their grants, drawn from reliable sources, including IRS Form 990s, grantmaker web sites and annual reports, and the grantmakers themselves.

SPIN Database (PennKey required). SPIN (Sponsored Programs Information Network) is a funding opportunity database that provides information on government and private funding sources in both the US and abroad. SPIN contains over 40,000 funding opportunities from more than 10,000 global sponsors. The University of Pennsylvania has subscribed to the SPIN database and provides access to all PennERA users.

Publicly Accessible

GuideStar - GuideStar gathers, organizes, and distributes information about U.S nonprofits.  Make an account to see Organization’s full address and contact information, Up to three years of Forms 990, Revenue and expense data for the current fiscal year, CEO, Board Chair, and Board of Directors information. - Searchable database of funding opportunities available through federal grant-making agencies. Records include program scope, eligibility requirements, deadlines, and program director contact information.

National Science Foundation - Awards Search

National Endowment for the Humanities - Funded Projects Query Form

National Institutes of Health - Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools

Grant Advisor Plus

Education Directories

Think Tanks

Selected Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Encyclopedia and dictionaries are great places to start research. Dictionaries will provide clear definitions and descriptions of a term or topic. A good encyclopedia article will outline major research theories and issues, and it describe consensus, controversy, and research fronts; it should also list important, classic, or controversial works that treat the article's topic.

General Education Topics

Educational Linguistics

Educational Psychology

Primary & Secondary Education

Higher Education

Special Topics in Education

Selected Handbooks

Handbooks are edited works, gathering chapters around a topic. A good handbook chapter will be journal article-length or longer, it will be more discursive than an encyclopedia article, and it will offer a rich bibliography for further reading.

Educational Technology & Online Learning

Educational Psychology

Early Childhood Education

Higher Education

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