Specialized encyclopedias can be an excellent source for an introduction to a subject. They can also help you focus your interest to a topic within a larger subject area. For example, instead of trying to write about a large subject like "posttraumatic stress disorder" you might browse in the Encyclopedia of Trauma and Traumatic Stress Disorders and decide to focus your interest on the use of "imagery rehearsal therapy" in treating PTSD.
Specialized encyclopedias are a great source for key terms you can use to search for further information on your topic. Key terms can include names of people associated with a subject, specialized terminology used to describe concepts in that subject, names of organizations, and so forth.
Specialized dictionaries can help you interpret scholarly books and articles by defining terms used in a field. Scholarly literature usually includes a lot of specialized terminology.
If you use the library search with a scope that includes articles in the results (such as the default search), articles in reference books appear in the results. They are identifiable by the resource type Reference entry printed above the title of the item.
The Full Text Available links for some reference entries connect to the database at the book level. You will then need to repeat the search within the book to find the reference article.