Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

College Composition

Reference Collections

Reference Resources FAQ

What types of information do reference materials contain?

  • Short overviews of topics, issues, problems, and subject areas
  • Historical information
  • Biographical information on famous or important people
  • Collections of facts and statistics
  • Geographical information

Why use reference materials?

  • Get ideas for narrowing your topic from broad to focused
  • Very quickly acquaint yourself with ideas, people, issues and events associated with your topic
  • Define terms and jargon associated with your topic
  • Identify key resources on your topic (many reference resources will include links to useful sources you can use in your essay)

Should you cite reference material?

You can cite facts and definitions via reference materials, but in most cases reference articles are too general to cite.  However, many contain links to key resources on your topic that you can locate and cite directly.