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Research Guides@Tufts

Grad Student Research Toolkit

This guide serves as a toolkit for graduate student research. Helpful links and information on relevant library resources and services can be found here.

Reference Sources

What is a reference source?

A reference source summarizes and synthesizes secondary sources such as books and scholarly articles. Typically, a reference source does not contain original research. These sources provide important background and contextual information on your subject.

Why should I use a reference source?

You should use this type of source to help narrow your research topic, find data to support your thesis, and identify keywords and main ideas to use as search terms.

What are some examples of reference sources?

Reference sources generally include bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks.

Reference Databases

  • Oxford Reference
    • Provides web access to more than 100 major Oxford University Press dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference works in the humanities, social sciences, foreign languages, science, technology and medicine, the performing arts, and religion. Works can be searched separately or across the entire databases. Browse "social sciences" subject area.
  • CREDO Reference
    • Online reference resources from numerous publishers. This reference resource can be searched by individual title, broad subject headings, cross-references, audio and images.