Companions, Handbooks, and Guides: What are these things?

These reference works offer introductions to subjects, whether they be whole disciplines, prominent topics, or individual thinkers.
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Companions, Handbooks, and Guides

These reference works are designed to give comprehensive introductions to their subjects.  They are excellent when you are beginning a research project and need an intellectual map of how to proceed.  They are also handy for answering questions as you go.  Here are a few examples of each type; click on the links and take a look at the tables of contents:

Companions

Handbooks

Guides