Skip to Main Content
Go to Penn Libraries homepage   Go to Guides homepage


A general guide for psychological resources

Core Reference Titles

Encyclopedias and Reference Works

Use dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks 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 the article's subjects. Entries should also cross-reference other articles within the encyclopedia for further discovery.

Psychology is distinctive in its tradition of major reference works - usually titled "Handbook" - that present chapter-long articles in multivolume collections. Handbooks generally offer chapters on specific aspects of a topic: together, the handbook's chapters should provide a broad overview of the state of research; individually, chapters may be narrowly focused. Some handbook chapters may be focused on a particular position or argument. Handbook chapters typically have very rich bibliographies.



Encyclopedias and Major Reference Works




Penn Libraries Home Franklin Home
(215) 898-7555