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Information Sources

Learn about different types of sources

What are References Sources?

Reference sources are used when you need quick, authoritative information or an overview of a subject.

They are useful when conducting background research on unfamiliar topics and also for finding specific facts.

Commonly used reference sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauri. Biographies, manual and handbooks about specific subjects are also used as reference sources.

Reference sources can be found online and in print form. 

Types of Reference Sources

  • Encyclopedias provide brief, factual, synthesized information on topics or concepts.
  • Information is organized into summaries.
  • Encyclopedias can be general or specific to subjects.
  • Can be accessed freely online or via The University of Calgary website

Links to Encyclopedias

  • Dictionaries provide definitions, word origins, pronunciations and synonyms of words.
  • Words are organized alphabetically.
  • Dictionaries can be general or specific to subjects or languages.

Links to Dictionaries

  • A thesaurus is a type of dictionary that provides synonyms or related concepts for words.
  • Words are organized alphabetically.
  • Useful for finding synonyms as keywords for searching or during the writing process. 

Links to Thesauri