It's term paper season, so remember that besides our many databases that get you good quality journal literature, and our online catalog (OPAC) that identifies electronic and good, old-fashioned paper books, we also have many sources of eReference books.
Electronic reference books are easy to cross-search and are a great way to get familiar with a topic. You can get a basic overview and background on a person, place, thing or concept. Then, once you have that grounding in the subject, and have become familiar with the common vocabulary of the field, you can more readily move on to the journal databases and do more informed searches there. Our two best collections of electronic encyclopedias and handbooks includes Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL), which is a very broad-based collection of reference books from a wide variety of publishers (not just Gale).
The basic search on the opening screen works well, just put in the concept you're interested in and you can read the reference entries in either HTML or in PDF form (just look for the Adobe icon).
Are you interested in topics in the social sciences or in social aspects other disciplines? If so, then Sage eReference is a great place to do some reading.
A search for social exchange theory, gets me lots of encyclopedia and handbook entries that would help me understand the theories and the theorists behind them. Sage entries usually suggest additional key readings at the end of their signed entries. (Remember, this is not anonymous, who-knows-who-wrote-it-or-when content like what you find in Wikipedia. These entries are written by scholars whose writing has undergone rigorous editorial review. And the kind of entries you find here are much more reliable as a starting place!)
For even more basic ready reference--quick definitions and such--consider Credo Reference
Credo has dozens (and dozens) of dictionaries and basic encyclopedias in just about every topic, as well as basic English and even bilingual dictionaries, available 24/7. (Just authenticate with your name and Suffolk ID number, if you are off-campus.)
And if you are struggling to find the right word or synonym while writing your paper, Credo even has two thesauri, the Bloomsbury Thesaurus and Roget's II New Thesaurus to help you polish up your writing.
The tools are here, whenever and wherever you need them. So take advantage of this great content. And if you have questions, stop by and see us!