Finding background information at the beginning of your research is especially important if you are unfamiliar with the subject area, or not sure from what angle to approach your topic. The types of information that a background search in a specialzed reference work can provide include:
In addition to the sources listed here, you can also search QCAT using the keywords of your topic combined with the type of reference work you're looking for, such as: encyclopedia, dictionaries, companion, bibliography, or handbook.
Blackwell Reference Online: Philosophy
Blackwell Reference Online contains over 400 reference works in the humanities and social sciences. You can search across the entire collection or limit your search to specific subject collections. The Philosophy collection contains over 50 important reference works.
Oxford Reference Online: Philosophy
The Philosophy collection of reference works is one component in the Oxford Reference Online database, a huge and comprehensive resource which contains the full-text of over 120 dictionaries, companions and other reference publications covering the complete subject spectrum. Includes The Oxford Companion to Philosophy and The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy.
Oxford Handbooks Online: Scholarly Research Reviews
An outstanding collection of the best handbooks published by Oxford in 14 subject areas, including philosophy. The Handbook series contains in-depth, articles that review key issues and major debates.