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University of Southern Maine
Libraries & Learning

SWO 250: Introduction to Social Welfare: Background Reading

Why Use a Reference Book?

Reference sources are invaluable for defining key concepts, providing brief overviews of a subject, and identifying major theories and research developments. They can provide you with the background you need to select and develop a topic of research, or help you explore internship or career opportunities.

Subject Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Subject encyclopedias provide an overview of your topic, often including history, current state, policy issues & relevant theories, while specialized dictionaries provide definitions of terms or phrases unique to the field.

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Handbooks: Online

Another great source for overviews of social issues: