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How to write a research paper: using encyclopedias and dictionaries


Encyclopedias and dictionaries are common reference materials used by academic students for research papers. They provide detailed information on a wide selection of topics, while giving students a better understanding about their chosen topic. Such reference materials provide further knowledge needed to help you write about your subject to the best of your ability. There are also times in which you may come across words or text you need further explanation for better insight.

Why are Encyclopedias Used and How Do They Help?

An encyclopedia can help you understand different elements about your topic. They provide a general overview or background information that includes articles, pictures and other relevant details to provide further insight and understanding. While there are different types and volumes available, students are often encouraged to evaluate and compare their findings with other sources. Sometimes information may be outdated, inaccurate or too broad. They are available in print and online through the internet. The information is often organized into subtopics with graphs, tables and charts to present findings. They are available in different forms based on academic level.

What Are Dictionaries Used For?

Dictionaries help you understand meaning of a word or phrase. Aside from a dictionary, a thesaurus provides similar support but in further detail. A dictionary is important for students writing academic papers since it ensures you are using a word correctly. There are various words that sound the same but have different meanings. This can helpful when proofreading and editing your content, or you want to use a word that has similar meaning when trying to avoid using the same word in your paper over and over again.

What You Should Know about Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

You can access both references in print through books or online through trusted websites. There are versions print versions that may get updated annually. Be sure to use the correct reference book for your research based on academic level. There are encyclopedias that have extended versions of their print editions online that can be cross referenced. Students are encouraged not to copy content from either resource word-for-word, but to rewrite their findings in their own words. Review how to reference or cite these sources on your research paper if necessary. You may need to mention the volume number if using a print edition or other details such as article title, date and edition.



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