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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Gender Studies in the University Library: Subject orientation

Gender studies embraces a range of disciplines, from the Humanities to the Social Sciences.As traditionally all disciplines had their own book collections, the interdisciplinarity if this field of research is a challenge to both librarian and library user

Reference works as a starting point

To get a grip on new or unfamiliar concepts, you might ease your start by consulting general dictionaries or encyclopedias.

  • Wikipedia: as a starting point, not as a full right reference in an academic paper.. 
  • Collection of licensed digital reference works: i.e. Oxford Reference.
  • For other disciplines than Gender Studies, go to the search engines by discipline and filter by the category 'Encyclopedia'.


You can use bibliographical seach engines from different countries and with different scopes.

What about Wikipedia?

In scholarly research, Wikipedia can be used for:

  • Initial exploration of a subject
  • Gaining ideas about search terms to be used
  • Finding out or checking facts, but please do a double-check
  • Literature references: often there are references to a small number of crucial publications
  • Source references: in the footnotes of many articles detailed source references can be found
  • As object of study: in what way is a subject written about in an influential reference work?
  • As quick translation tool, for words, but particularly for concepts for which mainstream (online) dictionaries offer no solution

Please bear in mind that the various language versions of Wikipedia may differ:  as a rule the larger versions (for instance the English version) is of a higher quality, because on average more people contribute to an article. Compare the article in the different language versions.

Another thing one can do is study the talk pages of an article. It shows the (low or high) level of discussion amongst editors. You can take that into account in your decision on how to use the information provided in the article.

Contrary to what is often thought, Wikipedia is a reference work with explicit rules, policy and control.

In the special LibGuide Wikipedia  more details, background information and examples of good Wikipedia-use.

Printed reference works


The Wiley Blackwell encyclopedia of gender and sexuality studies
Publication year: 2016

Available for consultation at the Utrecht University Library City Center
(not for loan) : Collection ALG: 02.60 06 *2016nw.

Digital reference works

A Dictionary of Gender Studies  (2017)

Subjects covered: cyber feminism, the double burden, and the male gaze, and gender-focused definitions of more general terms, such as housework, intersectionality, and trolling. It also covers major feminist figures, including Hélène Cixous, bell hooks, and Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as groups and movements from Votes for Women to Reclaim the Night..



Encyclopedia of gender and society (2009)

Covers the major theories, research, people and issues in contemporary gender studies. It is distinguished by a cross-national, cross-cultural perspective providing comparative analyses of life experiences of men and women around the world. 

Encyclopedias by topic

A Companion to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies​ (2008)​

Addresses the politics, economics, history, and cultural impact of sexuality.

Encyclopedia of race and racism (2013)

Examines the anthropological, sociological, historical, economic, and scientific theories of race and racism in the modem era. Delves into the historic origins of ideas of race and racism and explores their social and scientific consequences. Includes biographies of significant theorists, as well as political and social leaders and notorious racists