What are Reference Materials?

 Reference materials are things like encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, almanacs, and guides. They are typically books or e-books that are not meant to be read cover-to-cover, but rather, are consulted to gather specific pieces of information or to find quick facts.

The ERC Reference Collection contains numerous research handbooks in many content areas (English and language arts, reading, social studies, math and science, special education, and educational administration).

We also have specialized resources such as Tests in Print and Mental Measurements Yearbook, as well as a varied collection of reference sources related to children's literature, and much more.

About Research Handbooks, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries

Subject-specific encyclopedias and research handbooks provide an excellent way for you to gather background information for your research paper or project.  Encyclopedias tend to provide broad (less detailed) information on more general topics, while handbooks provide greater depth on narrower topics.  Encyclopedias and handbooks help you to:

  • learn about a topic that is new to you,
  • focus in on a topic for your paper or project,
  • find additional sources on a topic (via included bibliographies and references)
  • come up with search terms to use when looking for journal articles and books 

encnclopedia   handbook   dictionary

Although dictionaries generally provide brief definitions of terms, some may provide lengthier definitions or explanations of concepts that can help you to better understand a topic.

Print Reference Sources in the ERC

Find encyclopedias and handbooks in the ERC Reference collection (print collection) by using the search box below (the search will be limited to the ERC Reference collection).

You can do title or keyword searches on the following words and phrases, among others:

  • handbook
  • encyclopedia
  • dictionary
  • educational research
  • mathematics
  • language arts
  • reading
  • etc.

Search the ERC Reference Collection:

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