Selected Reference Works

Begin your research with reference works to find background information, definitions, locate statistics and facts, and build a bibliography.

Getting Started

Some thoughts on research…  Research is not a linear process. It is a matter of trying, evaluating and learning from the results, refining your strategy, trying again, and exploring possibilities. It should be fun - finding new information and thinking about what that might mean for your topic. 

This list is not meant to be taken literally as a strict procedure; instead these are questions to keep in mind as you do your research. 

  1. What discipline or disciplines am I working in?
  2. What sources do I already have?
    • Do they mention other sources of information or data (bibliography)?
    • Do they use specific terminology or wording?
    • Do they talk about particular places, people, or agencies?
  3. What type of literature or information do I need?
    • Who might collect and/or publish that information?
    • Who would be interested in it?
  4. How and where will I search for the information I need?
  5. How will I access the information that I find?
  6. What keywords or terms could be used to describe my topic?
  7. After running a few searches: What results am I getting?  Am I getting too many results?  Too few?
  8. What refinements should I make to my search in light of those results?
  9. How will I use the results that I've found?
  10. What information am I still missing?

Remember also that the librarians are here to help.


Emily Scharf's picture
Emily Scharf
Office: 469 on 4th Libe

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