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.
Biographical Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Michael R. Fischbach, ed. Gale, 2008.
Encyclopedia of Africa. Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds. Oxford University Press, 2010.
Encyclopedia of African Religion. Molefi Kete Asante and Ama Mazama, eds. SAGE, 2009
Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia. John A. Shoup. ABC-CLIO, 2011.
New Encyclopedia of Africa. John Middleton, ed. Scribner's, 2008.
Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought. F. Abiola Irele and Biodun Jeyifo, eds. Oxford University Press, 2010.