|Step 2||Find background information|
|A good way to do this is by consulting reference sources. Reference sources are authoritative works that you can refer for specific answers or information. There are many types of reference sources. including dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri, directories, almanacs, and handbooks. But in broader terms, reference works can also include materials such as bibliographes, aliases, gazetteers, style manuals, or statistical sources.
Most reference sources provide a quick and effective way of locating factual information, such as statistics, addresses, or definitions. But reference materials can also provide essential background information for your research. If you are looking for a brief summary of an event, a biography of a person or are looking for more resources on a topic, a reference book can be a great way to begin your research.
Dictionaries can be used to check spelling, to learn new words, to find or double-check the meaning of a word you encounter, or to find the right word to use.
|2.1.1 Why do we use a Dictionary?
Spelling. Yes! What if you don't know how to spell a word and you have to look it up. The words are all in alphabetic or A-B-C order. Words sometimes have more than one definition.
There is also other information about words such as their function or part of speech, their pronounciation, as well as origins, or roots of words.
There are many different types of special-purpose dictionaries, including bilingual, multilingual, scientific, historical, biographical and technical.
Types of dictionaries :
- Unabridged dictionaries
Try to include every word currently in use
Example: The Oxford English Dictionary
- Abridged dictionaries
Do not try to include very word
Example: The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
- Etymological dictionaries
Give history of words, how meanings change
Example: The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology
- Subject dictionaries
Focus on the vocabulary of a subject/discipline
Example: Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Accounting
|2.1.2 Oxford English Dictionaries Online
English online dictionaries and thesauri are available on the Library website - List of e-resources - Oxford Reference Online. Select Reference Type. Next, select dictionary of interest and click on the title. Proceed to do your search.
An encyclopedia is an easy-to-use reference tool found in all libraries. An encyclopedia may be one volume and have a very specific topic as its subject, or an encyclopedia may have multiple volumes that cover a wide range of topics. Because encyclopedias are so easy to use and so accessible, many people use them as their first choice for a reference tool. Encyclopedias are available on the Library website - List of e-resources - Oxford Reference Online. Select Encyclopedias from the subject listing. Select encyclopedia of interest and click on the title. Proceed to do your search.
Sometimes called a yearbook. It provides facts, data, tables, charts, lists, etc. on a variety of topics. Almanacs typically cover a broad spectrum of topices but do not include in-depth information. They are generally updated annually, so are excellent resources for finding current facts and information.
Example :The World almanac, Book of Facts
|2.4 Statistical sources
Provides numerical data on topics. Sometimes referred to as "statistical abstracts".
Example :Malaysia Economic Statistics - Time Series 2015
|2.5 Biographical sources
Provides background information about lives/accomplishments of famous people (living or dead). Often called "biographical dictionaries".
Example : Malaysia's Who's Who
Present information organized by date. May cover brief or long time periods.
Example : 1957-2007; Chronicle of Malaysia Fifty Years of Headline News
Provides contact information - names, addresses, telephone numbers
Example : FMM Directory of Malaysian Industries 2015
If you are having trouble locating reference sources, please feel free to ask the Reference Librarian for assistance. She can help you locate the best sources for your research needs.
Locate the information sources using keywords identified in your search topic. You will come across other names, events, etc. associated with your search topic as your reading progresses. List these terms.
|Back to Main|
|Step 1:||Develop your topic|
|Step 2:||Find background information|
|Step 3:||Use the Library catalogue|
|Step 4:||Search MyDigital Library|
|Step 5:||Find information on the World Wide Web (WWW)|
|Step 6:||Review and evaluate your sources|
|Step 7:||Cite your resources using a standard format|