Why use reference books?
Use the index (or search) these books to identify entries related to your topic or areas of interest. You might not find entries that narrowly focus on your topic; if so, try to find entries that relate broadly.
Use reference books to:
- Contextualize your topic (and get background information)
- Find search terms (for use in databases and primary source collections)
- Identify which aspects of a topic interest you
- Get citations for relevant books, articles, and primary source collections
- Identify which scholars have written about the topic
- Identify areas of debate and disagreement in the scholarly literature