What are reference sources?
- Reference sources can serve two functions:
- They can provide facts and background information on a subject, such as definitions, history or timeline, dates, and key statistics or formula
- They can provide an overview or summary of a given topic
- Scholarly reference sources may discuss the evolution of research within a given field and often include a list of references for further reading
- Examples of reference sources include:
- Handbooks and manuals
- Dictionaries and thesauri
- Almanacs and yearbooks
- Encyclopedias, and
Why use reference sources?
- They are a great place to start if you don't know much about your topic
- They can help surface topic ideas for research papers
- If you have a topic in mind, they can give you the 'big picture' and situate your topic appropriately
- They can lead you to more in-depth and recommended sources on your topic.