Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Reference Sources: Home

A guide on the types of reference sources

Introduction

Reference Sources are designed to help you get started on your research paper. They can help you in many ways-

  • To get background information on your topic
  • Information about important people (Who), events (What), places (Where), dates (When) and how they are related to your topic (How)
  • Great definitions and ideas for Keywords which will help you find more sources on your topic

Types of Reference Sources:

  • Almanacs: collection of facts, statistics, charts.
  • Atlas & Gazetteers: visual representations--atlases--or geographical dictionaries--gazetteers--that provide information about places.
  • Bibliographies: provide lists of materials about a particular subject.
  • Biographical Dictionary: provide short sketches about the lives of important people.
  • Dictionary & Thesauri: provide definitions, synonyms and histories of words. 
  • Directories: list names and addresses of persons, organizations, businesses.  
  • Encyclopedia: can be either general or specialized by subject matter. Contains articles on subjects in various fields, usually including helpful bibliographies.
  • Handbook & Manuals: "how to" books, containing instructions and miscellaneous items of information on one subject. MLA Handbook, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
  • Indexes: tell where information can be found in other sources.
  • Statistical Sources: give data or numbers that have been compiled to quantify and compare the characteristics of people, places or things.
  • Yearbooks: (also called annuals) chronicle the events of a certain year, usually in a particular field.

Quick Reference Source Guide