Use subject encyclopedias to understand the background of your topic, or for context about unfamiliar names or events you encounter while using primary sources. Subject encyclopedias will often cite key scholarly works as well.
STEP 1. Go to the library's home page at lib.msu.edu and look for the SearchPlus box. Type keywords on your topic.
STEP 2. You'll get a huge number of hits. Use the filters on the left to narrow your search. To narrow your results to articles in subject encyclopedias, limit the Content Type to Reference. (To do that, you must expand the Content Type list by clicking More.)
STEP 3. Now that the Content Type is limited to Reference, the results point only to articles in subject encyclopedias.
Abolition and Antislavery: A Historical Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic. Peter Hinks and John McKivigan, eds. Greenwood/ABC-CLIO, 2015.
Encyclopedia of the American Indian Movement. Bruce E. Johansen, ed. Greenwood, 2013.
Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Social Issues. Michael Shally-Jenson, ed. ABC-CLIO, 2011.
Encyclopedia of Strikes in American History. Aaron Brenner et al, eds. M.E. Sharpe, 2009.
Gilded Age and Progressive Era: A Student Companion. Elisabeth Israels Perry and Karen Manners Smith. Oxford University Press, 2006.
Ideas and Movements that Shaped America: From the Bill of Rights to Occupy Wall Street. Michael S. Green and Scott L. Stabler, eds. ABC-CLIO, 2015.
Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History. Joan Shelley Rubin and Scott E. Casper, eds. Oxford University Press, 2013.
Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History. Lynn Dumenil, ed. Oxford University Press, 2012.
Race and Racism in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic. Charles A. Gallagher and Cameron D. Lippard, eds. Greenwood, 2014.
Social History of Crime and Punishment in America: An Encyclopedia. Wilbur R. Miller, ed. SAGE, 2012.
Workers in America: A Historical Encyclopedia. Robert E. Weir. ABC-CLIO, 2013.
American Dissidents: An Encyclopedia of Activists, Subversives, and Prisoners of Conscience. Kathlyn Gay, ed. ABC-CLIO, 2012.
Declarations of Independence: Encyclopedia of American Autonomous and Secessionist Movements. James L. Erwin. Greenwood, 2007.
Encyclopedia of American Social Movements. Immanuel Ness, ed. Sharpe, 2004.
Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Civil Rights: From Emancipation to the Twenty-First Century. Charles D. Lowery et al, eds. Greenwood, 2003.
Historical Dictionary of the Gay and Lesbian Liberation Movements. JoAnne Myers. Scarecrow, 2013.
Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations, and Rebellions in American History: An Encyclopedia. Steven L. Danver, ed. ABC-CLIO, 2011.