This research guide explores various library resources to help you successfully complete your assignment. The tabs along the top of this page will lead you to tools which are key to you understanding of library research. If you have any questions, please contact the Research Help Desk (610-436-2453) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to contact me directly use the "send email" link on the right side of this screen.
Encyclopedias, biographical dictionaries and other reference sources are great for getting background information about your topic. They can provide the basic information you need to start your research, and often, a list of suggested readings. They provide the well-known facts about a topic: definitions, major dates, statistics, and key contributions. They are trustworthy and reliable, giving you correct information you need for presentations and research reports. If you don't know very much about your topic, or you're just starting your research, begin with reference books and they will help you narrow your research topic, identify keywords and main ideas to search in databases/indexes. When doing research, it is very important to use authoritative sources to support your topic.
Easy approaches to get started on almost any topic are using Credo (below left) and Reference Universe (below).
In addition to reference books journal articles make excellent resources because they are generally evidence-based and written by experts in the field. Click on the "Articles" tab (above) to begin your search for articles through databases (indexes) which are appropriate for your topic.