Reference books and databases provide general, introductory and background information, which is helpful when beginning to explore and develop a research topic:
A compendium of knowledge or branches of knowledge presented in a comprehensive but easy-to-read and concise manner:
- Can be general (attempting to cover all fields) or specialized (aiming to be comprehensive in a particular subject or discipline).
- Contain short essays or overviews with concise background and factual information
- May be a single-volume or multi-volume set of books
- Do not provide in-depth and current information, so should not be the only source consulted in the research process
- Are written by researchers and subject specialists
2) Dictionaries & Glossaries
An alphabetical list of words and terms that confirms spelling, pronunciation, etymology and/or definition.
- Can be monolingual (with definitions of words from one language) or bilingual (with words translated into another language)
- May focus on a specific subject, such as medical terminology or accounting terms
An alphabetical list of words and terms accompanied by synonyms and/or antonyms
- Use a thesaurus to further your understanding of word usage and locate words with similar or opposite meanings