Answering the Question: What's Known?
Companions are a stock-in-trade for academic researchers. Typically, they're edited volumes, with chapters written by authorities -- or recognized experts in a field. They synthesize current "consensus" thinking and present the most widely accepted perspectives on a concept, person, movement, etc. They usually contain extensive bibliography which you can mine as well.
Smart Searching Tip in HOLLIS
Combine a broad keyword search with this or similar terms: handbook, guide, reader, and sometimes, introduction.
Answering the Question: Where do I get a reliable overview?
Entries are created and maintained by groups of experts and materials are peer-reviewd by a distinguished editorial board prior to their publication. Essays cover individuals, concepts, and events related to all aspects of philosophy. Each article has a list of references to other sources, including books and journal articles.
Considered one of the most comprehensive resources available for the study of philosophy. It is a trusted source of quality information, providing access to over 2,800 articles that have been edited for level and consistency by a team of renowned subject experts.
Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (ProQuest)
Google Scholar incorporates more types of information -- not just books and journal contents-- and depending on your need, comfort level, and perspective, that eclecticism can be an advantage. Not all of it is scholarly, but the vast majority of it is.
Google Scholar is also an easy way to follow CITATION TRAILS. Enter the title of a book or journal article and then click on "Cited by" when the item appears. If the cited references are very numerous, consider keyword searching with them.
One simple change can turn Google Scholar into what's effectively a Harvard database -- with links to the full-text of articles that the library can provide. Here's what to do: Look to the left of the GS screen and click on the "hamburger" (); then click on . Look for "Library Links." Then type Harvard University into the search box and save your choice. As long as you allow cookies, the settings will keep.
Zotero, a free, open source citation management tool will take the process of collecting and organizing citations, incorporating them into your paper, and creating a bibliography or works cited page to the next level.
It's worth the small investment of time to learn Zotero. A good guide, produced by Harvard librarians, is available here: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/zotero.