Chem 161, 162, 163

Start with Reference (aka Academic Encyclopedias) for the Facts

Helpful Databases

Use the following online reference databases to find background information. Academic encyclopedias are a good place to start research!

Example: Reading a Reference Article

Reading a Reference Article

Use reference articles to understand the general view of what is happening with an issue, who is involved, and why there is debate over it. 

You can use important words or ideas (see the highlighted words in the example below) as keywords to build more focused or related searches.

(click on image to enlarge)

GVRL Global Warming reference article

Why Start with Reference?

Why Reference?

Reference sources are a helpful starting place for researching a topic.

Read reference for:

  • background knowledge - the who, what, when, where, why, how's of a topic
  • terminology common to a field
  • an overview of the history of a subject or issues
  • leads to more information
  • reliable information. Unlike Wikipedia, you can see the academic authority of the author of the articles.

A reference collection is a set of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other items that provide background information on a topic.

In college libraries, reference collections include specialized encyclopedias such as the Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change or the Gale Encyclopedia of Science.