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How to Maximize Reference Sources
References sources, particularly specialized encyclopedias, offer many benefits. Consider the following tips as you review a reference source on your topic to reap all the benefits and make your researching even better.
- Get definitions and background - Reference sources assume that you are new to a topic. Jargon and specialized terminology will be explained and contextualized, which you might not get in more advanced books and journal articles.
- Get caught-up on a topic - Research is a conversation, and often it has been going on for years. Reference sources will provide a historical background and identify key developments to help you understand how we got to the current understandings and theories.
- Identify key people and theories - Who are the most important people and ideas on your topic? Reference sources will help you identify them so you can explore their lives and research more deeply.
- Find more sources - Reference sources will provide additional reading, usually in the form of references or background lists. These are a great next-step in your research process.
Search Widgets for General Online Reference Sources
Biography (Gale In Context)
Combines over 280,000 biographies from sources such as Contemporary Authors, Encyclopedias of World Biography, Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Contemporary Musicians, Historic World Leaders, Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists, Contemporary Black Biography, Religious Leaders of America, International Dictionary of Art and Artists; and many more, with full-text articles from more than 250 periodicals including American History, The Christian Century, U.S. News & World Report.