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This guide will help you begin your research in Geology through the library's collections and beyond.

Why Reference?

Photomicrograph of gabbro under polarized light, showing crystalsReference works are an excellent first stop in your research and are incredibly useful for the following:

  • Getting an overview of a topic
  • Finding facts--statistics, physical and chemical properties, formulae, procedures, etc.
  • Getting ideas for a paper topic or narrowing your scope
  • Learning the vocabulary used by experts
  • Identifying core works on the subject
  • Discovering expert authors

Reference works, while useful, should not typically be cited in your research--they are not considered primary or secondary sources. There are exceptions--ask your librarian or professor about citing a reference work to be sure.

(Photomicrograph of gabbro, 2006. Siim Sepp.)

Popular Reference Titles