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FYW: Monuments, Memory and History: Get Started - Reference Sources

FYW: Monuments, Memory and History

Brainstorming

Not finding enough on your topic? Not finding anything on your topic? Are you using the best keywords and concepts to describe what you're looking for?

Brainstorming the different words and phrases used to describe your topic is one the most helpful things you can do to start your research. It gets you really thinking about your topic and the ways it can be approached.

If you're having trouble getting the storm started, try reading a few articles from a few different types of encyclopedias. Look for keywords and the different ways it's described there. You might start by searching for information in Wikipedia and a general encyclopedia like Encyclopedia Britannica.  But don't stop there!

Next, compare what you are finding with articles from more specialized encyclopedias such as those found in online reference packages such as Oxford Reference Online or Credo Reference.

 

Reliable, scholarly alternatives to Wikipedia...

Maximizing Reference Sources

Find background sources in the catalog by adding your keyword(s) to this reference-specific search:

Reference Examples

 

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's 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 them 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.