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SOCI/SOCW 4362 (Dr. Kunz): Social Research

Reference Sources - What are they?

Reference sources:

  • are an excellent place to start research
  • provide background information
  • include basic information sources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, chronologies, and research guides.

Some of the most common types of reference sources are:

Bibliographies
Provide list of sources (books, articles, etc.) for specific subjects. May include annotations.
Guides to Research
Provide list of sources (books, articles, etc.) for specific subjects. May include annotations
Subject Encyclopedias
Provide in-depth, scholarly articles, focused on a specific subject or discipline. Often include bibliographies.

Using Reference sources

Subject encyclopedias are a great place to get an overview of a topic, develop keywords and terms, and find authors important in the field.

They are NOT considered appropriate to cite in scholarly writing.

Reference Books

These books should not be used as sources in your final paper, but can be used as initial sources for ideas and references.