Library Research Guide - Step 2
Why it is Important to Consult
General Information Sources
Encyclopedias, subject-specific handbooks, and other general information sources summarize subjects in a concise and orderly manner. These sources provide a good introduction to many topics. Encyclopedias and similar reference sources describe the most important aspects of their subject, and often even include overviews of unresolved or controversial issues. They also provide factual details that might otherwise be overlooked (imagine your impression of a book or article if you know that certain "facts," such as dates, or population statistics, are stated incorrectly!).
Ask the reference librarian for encyclopedias, handbooks, indexes and other reference sources that will get you started, and remember to check the Library Catalog. Internet searching is discussed in Step 5.