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Reference/Background Sources & Research Topics

Reference sources is usually the first place to start when you are learning and exploring a new research topic.

Using reference sources, you can get quick specific facts or an overview of a subject. 

Reference sources can be electronic/online or print dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, handbooks, etc.

How to Use Reference Sources

First, read a good summary of a your topic in an encyclopedia, like those listed in the first section. Second, once you know the basics on your topic, search for more published scholarship in the CUNY Catalog, OneSearch, E-Journals and library Databases.

Print Reference Books

Print reference books are mainly shelved in the stacks of 3rd floor. To use reference books, please ask library staff at Library Borrowing Desk.


Electronic/Online Reference Sources

24-hour access to electronic reference resources.

Use your CUNYfirst credentials to access electronic resources if you are off campus.


References & Guides

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries (Print)

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries (Electronic)