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 resources are usually encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, manuals and other publications that you refer to when wanting 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. Consulting reference materials is a valuable first step in any research project.
Choosing and Narrowing your Topic
Selecting a topic is often one of the most difficult parts of doing research. If you have a choice of research topics, start by choosing a topic you like, or one you are curious about. Here are some more suggestions:
Browse a subject encyclopedia (in print or online) for ideas, concepts, and vocabulary
Browse newspapers (in print or online) for topic ideas; but watch out, if the topic is extremely new there may not be enough written about it yet to satisfy your assignment
Do some exploratory searches in an article database and read some abstracts there
Talk to your Professor or to a reference librarian — they can show you how to use online resources and help with your topic selection
Is your topic too big? Is it too narrow? Will you be able to find enough on the topic? You won't know for sure until you get started, but developing a good keyword list, including some broader and narrower terms for your topic, will help and it's quick and easy to do. Start by doing some background reading.
Provides full-text online versions of hundreds of top quality reference books in all major subjects from art to medicine, psychology to history, and technology to literature. Includes bilingual and biographical dictionaries.
A database of in-depth, authoritative reports on a full range of political and social-policy issues extending back to 1923. Each report is footnoted and includes an overview, background section, chronology, bibliography and debate-style pro-con feature, plus tools to study the evolution of the topic over time.
Full text database providing subject specific dictionaries, encyclopedias and general reference books as well as the online version of the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Subjects include science, history, medicine, psychology and mental health, literature, drama, film, popular culture, business, law, and more.
How to Use Credo Reference Topic Pages & Narrow Your Topic