Sustainable Business & Environmental Studies

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Reference books and databases provide general, introductory and background information, which is helpful when beginning to explore and develop a research topic:

1) Encyclopedias

A collection of knowledge or branches of knowledge given 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

3) Thesaurus 

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