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Classics: Reference Sources

Credo Reference

Why Start with Reference Sources?

Reference sources (encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, manuals, etc.) provide specific facts, definitions, summaries and backgroundl information. They contain authoritative, well established information and are particularly useful when you are just starting your research. Look to them to:

  • find basic concepts and viewpoints of your topic;
  • get the historical context and relationships to other topics;
  • identify and define special terms used to discuss the topic;
  • identify the leading researchers and authors on your topic; and
  • find or verify data, facts, and formulas.

When you start to plan research it is always a good idea to begin with reference sources.  This will give you a broad overview of a topic and may help you to either narrow broad topics or broaden narrow topics. 

Reference Sources