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The Research Process

When to Use Reference Sources

Reference books give you:

  • A quick introduction to your subject by covering a lot of points briefly;
  • In-depth background on some of the major elements of your topic;
  • Vocabulary to use for searches in other resources; and
  • Bibliographies that can give you ideas for other resources, among other things.

Reference materials can also help you choose a topic, spell correctly (we have lots of dictionaries), choosing alternative words (Want to sound smart? Use a thesaurus.), answering grammar questions, and even  finding a  pithy quote to impress your professor!

Reference Databases