Reference sources can be a
beneficial resource for research. They provide a concise overview of a
topic, background information, facts and statistics, and will often lead you
to other sources of information.
Usually reference sources are consulted
for quick answers or facts, not for in-depth research. They must be
used in the library and do not circulate.
When you begin your research, you might consult a reference source such
as a subject encyclopedia to obtain an overview of your topic and some background
information. Later on, as your research progresses, you might come
back to reference sources to get some specific facts and statistics or to
look up definitions for unfamiliar terminology you have come across in some
of your readings.
Reference sources are often books located in a special section of the
library. This, however, is not always the case. They can also be
databases you access via the Library Web Site.