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.

ENG101: College Writing (Yokel)

What is a Reference Resource?

Reference resources are usually encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, manuals and other books that you would refer to when wanting to know a definition of a word or concept, a general overview of a topic, specific information about a certain period of time or event in history.

How do you find evidence to support your argument?


Background Sources - Materials that provide an overview of a topic, such as core concepts and facts

  • Used for information that is well established in the field
  • Sometimes don't need to be cited if considered "common knowledge," which is information in a discipline or subject that is universally accepted by those in the field
    • Example: The existence of natural selection is a given in biology, so Darwin's On the Origin of Species does not need to be cited to prove it

Exhibit Sources - Materials a writer is interpreting or analyzing

  • Used to provide an example of or give evidence for a claim
  • Depending on your topic and discipline, exhibit materials can be a novel, a data set, an interview, experimental results, a diary, scholarly books or articles, and much more
    • Example: If you are researching depictions of working women on TV, an episode of 30 Rock could be an exhibit. If you are researching changes in employment in the United States, a data set from the Bureau of Labor Statistics might be your exhibit

Argument Sources - Information from other authors you are agreeing with, disagreeing with, or building upon

  • Used to make claims related to your thesis statement and the argument you're making
  • Citing them puts your research in the context of other scholarship on that topic; it brings you into the conversation
  • Constitutes the literature review section in many disciplines
  • Note: You use your exhibit sources as examples of why you agree with, disagree with, or want to add more to what was claimed in your argument sources