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Book Research Skills

This guide will help you learn how to effectively use books for research.

Types of Resources

Different types of resources provide different types of information. While many students find it easier to use online articles and databases for their research, books are still an important type of resource.

Books can provide:

  • A detailed analysis of a topic
  • Background information
  • Overview of a big issue
  • A list of other relevant resources (bibliography)

Look at the following chart to see the different types of information books provide:

Source What Kinds of Info? Online Example Printed Example
Almanac Collection of facts, updated each year Infoplease.com World War I Almanac
Atlas Collection of maps Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection The Atlas of Food: Who Eats What, Where, and Why
Biographical Dictionary Birth dates, important accomplishments Biography.com Women in Psychology: A bio-bibliographic sourcebook
Dictionaries Definitions Merriam-Webster Online The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
Encyclopedias Short background articles Encyclopedia Britannica Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States
Handbooks Everything an expert should know FBI's Handbook of Forensic Services The Oxford Handbook of Methodist Studies
Manuals How it works, how to do something Manuals Online DSM Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Statistical Sources Back up your research with numbers Fedstats: Gateway to U.S. Statistics A Statistical History of the American Electorate