Reference Materials Overview Bio14


Definition

Reference materials of many types and formats exist. One of the most popular is one that you have grown up with: the phone book. You consult it constantly to obtain so many quick facts-- phone numbers, addresses, area codes, the names of government offices, and more.

Other kinds of reference materials include, but are not limited to, dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, atlases, directories, and bibliographies. These may be paper, CD-ROMs, or even available on the World Wide Web. You're probably familiar enough with these types of materials to realize that reference sources are the things to consult to get answers to brief, factual kinds of questions and background information.

Why Use Reference Materials?

Reference materials are a great starting place for exploring a topic. Definitions, overviews, chronologies, facts, and biographies are some of the types of information found in reference works. Science encyclopedias and dictionaries describe the specialized language and history of the sciences in greater detail than general encyclopedias.

Entries in specialized science encyclopedias can provide you with more than just a quick definition of a topic. You may find in such sources a thorough history of a topic, with explanations of basic scientific concepts, and cross-references to other related topics.

Continue to Selected Reference Sources.