can cover many subjects or be subject-specific. Favor the latter
type, such as the ones pictured below, since they provide more
material on a subject.
are great sources to consult when you are beginning a paper
for several reasons.
encyclopedias offer ideas for paper topics and for ways
to broaden and narrow them.
They provide an
authoritative general introduction to a topic,
including some or all of the following: dates and individuals
relevant to it, the most important aspects of it, controversies
relating to it, major developments associated with it,
and what is unknown about it.
essays often end with references to related subjects
as well as a bibliography of good sources. Moreover,
they often suggest good search terms since the terminology
used is frequently the same as that in other sources,
databases for example.
sources serve other purposes as well.
can be drawn on for quotes, statistics, definitions, little-known
facts, brief biographical sketches, etc. This material adds
color and specificity to a paper, making it more interesting.
Moreover, information found in reference sources can be used
to support ideas and flesh them out, making a paper more authoritative