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ENGL 1410: Chain of Being: Use Reference Sources

Why Use Reference Sources?

Reference sources are a great place to begin your research. Specialized subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks provide overviews of the ideas, developments, events, people, and places associated with your topic.

Starting your research with reference sources saves you time later in the research process because:

  • They help you pick a topic - You can narrow down a huge area of interest into a manageable piece.
  • They give you the background knowledge you need to understand the more detailed books and articles you will read later.
  • They help you find more sources: You learn the keywords of your topic (which will become your search terms) and get lists of book and article references that you can check out for yourself.

Online Reference Sources

Don't want to flip through the print? Not in the library at all? Entire collections of reference materials are available to you online!