A reference source summarizes and synthesizes secondary sources. Typically, a reference source does not contain original research. These sources provide important background and contextual information on your subject.
Why should I use reference sources?
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.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy organizes scholars from around the world in philosophy and related disciplines to create and maintain an up-to-date reference work. Great for bibliographies and an overview of what's known.
Online reference resources from numerous publishers. This reference resource can be searched by individual title, broad subject headings, cross-references, audio and images. Use its research mapper to search for terms and topics that are interconnected and displayed in (a) visual form. Examples of titles are: Bloomsbury Guide to Art, Bridgeman Art Library Archive, Columbia Encyclopedia, Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Harvard Dictionary of Music, and the Concise Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science. The complete list of titles is available on the CREDO Reference site.
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. Includes over 1.5 million entries.
The SAGE Knowledge platform provides cross-searching of SAGE resources including reference works, ebooks, and CQ Press. Included titles represent many disciplines within the social sciences such as juvenile justice, terrorism, social theory, crime, African American society, social welfare, education and many more themes.