Explore Reference Resources
Reference resources are generally considered to be encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and thesauri. They provide concise summaries on theories, people, events, and other topics. The Library contains several reference databases which provide short and clear summaries on your potential research topics. You can access these resources by going to the Find an E-Book page in the library. The top reference resources in the Library include the following:
CredoReference contains hundreds of reference books on a range of academic topics
Ebrary is a vast collection of full-text academic books (including reference books) from university publishers
PsycBOOKS contains full-text books and chapters from American Psychological Association’s collection
Sage Knowledge is one of the top social sciences publishers of high level scholarly handbooks, major works, encyclopedias, dictionaries and journals
Reading encyclopedia or handbook entries on an idea that you are considering is a good way for you to see the big picture. This information can help you decide if the topic really is in line with your thinking, and whether you want to continue researching in that subject area. The same resources that you use to find a topic will also be useful in gaining background knowledge on that topic. For example, an encyclopedia article may provide a concise overview of your research topic. General knowledge is ideal for establishing familiarity with the research, while specific knowledge is useful for identifying advances in the field of research. Both types of knowledge are necessary in order to produce scholarly research. Remember: These types of resources should be thought of as preliminary or tangential, and may not always be used as cited references in your scholarly work.
For help with selecting a topic related to your specialization, you may use the Mind Map feature available through the Credo Reference database. The Mind Map enables you to quickly find information when you don't know what to look for, when you need topic ideas for papers or research projects, or want to expand your knowledge of a given area. To access the Mind Map from the Credo Reference home page, click the drop-down menu to the left of the search box and select Mind Map, as shown below. Next, enter your topic keyword into the search box. Keeping your topic broad will give you more options to choose from. Click Search to create your Mind Map.
Each word in the resulting map will represent one full text e-book entry from Credo’s e-books. Rollover any word in the map to get a pop-up box that will tell you what particular e-book entry that node represents. Click 'Read More' within that pop-up box to see the full text article in a separate browser window.
Click on any term in the map to re-center the search around that node, with new words populating the map in new directions. The terms that you've visited are saved in a Nodes Visited list on the left side of the Mind Map. Click on any term to return to that view of the map. Zoom, rotate or create greater or fewer words on your map by using the toolbar on the upper left hand side of the screen. Click the plus sign on the top right hand side of the map to see the map on a full screen.
For additional guidance on locating reference resources, see the Background Information FAQ.
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