As a Background Source
The purpose of an encyclopedia is to provide basic information about a topic. Within the article, you should encounter important terms, the names of notable people, and background information on the topic. This can help you establish a foundation for your research.
Never Cite an Encyclopedia Article
Generally speaking, you don't want to cite an encyclopedia in a college level paper or research project. Most citations provided at the end of an entry in an encyclopedia are ones that would be appropriate to cite (if you make use of them).
Use the Bibliography at the End of an Article
Sources included are considered classic books and articles on the topic.
Print and Electronic Resources