Sometimes it is useful to get an overview of a topic before beginning your research in order to find a starting point. These resources will help you look into the background of your topic.
Gale Virtual Reference Library is an online collection of dozens of encyclopedias, handbooks, and guides. Type in your search term, or the title of a publication. Here are a few potential W&GS sources available through Gale Virtual Reference, accumulated as a sampling of sources from "History" "Literature" and "Social Sciences:"
Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered History in America, 3v, 2004
American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present, 2nd ed., 4v, 2000
Feminism in Literature: A Gale Critical Companion, 6v, 2005
Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Men and Women in the World's Cultures, 2003
Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English, 1999
Other reference materials can be found through the encyclopedias located in the Reference Database List.
Further background information can be found in individual articles through searching for terms such as "women AND gender," or feminism. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of W&GS, these articles may be found within reference materials for religion, history, philosophy, sociology, health, and many more.