Where to look for reference materials when doing research

Sources of information

Searching for information and doing research would be very hard to do without reference materials to source out information from. These materials are important to make your research highly-reliable and scientific. Aside from the dictionary and the encyclopedia, there are other helpful reference materials.

Here are some of the helpful materials to use as references:


An almanac is a yearly publication that gives up-to-date information and statistics about many subjects. It may list the average rainfall of all the countries of the world, the major-league records of champion baseball players, astronomical information, and other tabulated data. Almanac articles list charts and tables on topics like sports, politics, history, weather, the arts and literature.


The atlas is a unique book of maps. A world atlas has maps of every country or region in the world. Most atlases include maps and chart that show the size, climate, the population, and the natural features of the regions. They may also give information on industry, agriculture, and natural resources. Usually, they also show country or state capitals as well as other important cities.

Biographical Dictionary

The biographical dictionary contains accounts of the lives of well-known people. These may be arranged alphabetically; by topic, such as African Americans in History; or by special fields such as sports, science.

Dictionary of Quotations

The dictionary of quotations contains a list of quotations which are indexed and classified according to subject matter.


There are at least two kinds of directories; the city directory and the telephone directory. The city directory contains the alphabetical or classified list of the names and addresses of the inhabitants or business houses of a city. The telephone directory contains a classified and alphabetical list of telephone subscribers with their respective phone numbers and addresses.

Newspapers and Periodicals

Newspapers and periodicals are publications issued at frequent intervals for general circulation. Such publications usually circulate current news. The parts of a newspaper will be studied in a later lesson.


Posters are placards or bills for advertising, public information, etc., posted on a wall or other surface.

Rhyming Dictionaries

The rhyming dictionary contains a classified and alphabetized list of words that have similar ending syllables.


The thesaurus is a book of synonyms and antonyms. In it you can find a more suitable or lively word to express your idea. Some thesauri are sometime organized alphabetically like a dictionary. For others, the word must be looked up in the index.

Who’s Who

The Who’s Who contains a list of well-known personalities and their achievements.


The yearbook is a book published annually, as a report or summary of information, facts, and statistics about the previous year.

Nonprint Sources

Other valuable sources of information besides printed materials include films, slides and filmstrips and video clips, record albums and cassette tapes; photographs and copies of works of art. These are catalogued separately

Record albums and cassette tapes allow us to listen to various types of music, speeches, poetry and plays. Some classic radio broadcasts, instruction on foreign language, and other information are available on cassettes.

Videotapes, documentary films and filmstrips, as well as slide-tape shows are interesting sources of information. A filmstrip is a series of still pictures, sometimes, with sound. It has captions to give the viewer more information. A slide tape show also contains a series of still pictures along with a tape that provides sound. Usually, the slides are shown on a slide projector while the tape is played on a tape recorder. The videotape is a recording of a show or television program on magnetic tape.

Some libraries offer microfilm and microfiche (MAY-krow-fesh) for information about the past. These photographs of special events reported in newspapers and magazines are done on special film to preserve them since newspapers and magazines fall apart easily with age.

A computer linked up to the Internet is also a very good and quick source of information.