An encyclopedia is reference material and a tertiary source. A tertiary source is a distillation and collection of primary and secondary sources. A tertiary source is good place to get an overview of a subject.
Other examples of tertiary sources:
Encyclopedias are considered a scholarly source because the content is almost always written by scholars on the subject. However, the entries are not written for other scholars but for a general audience. Entries are reviewed by an editorial board, but they are not “peer-reviewed”. Most professors that ask for scholarly sources are looking for articles from academic, peer-reviewed journals. Using this definition, encyclopedia articles do not qualify. For assistance finding scholarly articles from academic, peer-reviewed journals, please contact a librarian.
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