References are an ideal place to begin your research because they provide easy access to information. Many reference sources are arranged in alphabetical order, are heavily indexed, or offer ready access through some other means. Reference articles, the units that make up most reference works, offer overviews of topics that are usually brief, specific, and written for readers who are unfamiliar with the subject matter. UACCB references are identified by "REF" over the call number of the item.

Examples of reference works include dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, almanacs, and atlases. Most reference works in the Row-Johns Library are shelved in a specific area known as the Reference Collection. These books cannot be checked out. You should consult both general works (e.g., Academic American Encyclopedia) and discipline-specific works (e.g., Encyclopedia of Nursing Research, Complete Costume Dictionary, Encyclopedia of Southern Culture).

When starting your research, try to locate one or more reference articles that relate to your topic. Look for three things in a reference article:

  • A brief introduction to your topic
  • Definitions of key terms
  • A bibliography of other sources about your topic.

These three elements will accelerate the pace of your research.

Do you know the criteria for Evaluating Web Pages?

If you have reference questions please contact the Library.