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Dissertation Research in Education: Reference Works

This guide was created to teach doctoral students to select, search, evaluate and organize their dissertation research project.

Why use Reference?

Consulting the reference collection is a good way to start a research project or paper. A reference work, like an encyclopedia, will provide a preliminary exploration of a topic.

It provides a description of the topic, background information & context, and sometimes a summary of research on the topic.. A reference work may facilitate brainstorming for synonyms and keywords of important concepts in the research question.  A reference work can also help in the creation of an outline. Start of keyword lists.

Often reference works have extensive bibliographies, pointing to other resources and experts in the field.

There are two types of reference tools:

Self-contained - dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, biographical information

Locating tools - those items that tell you "where to find it", such as indexes and bibliographies

Print Reference

Speed Library Reference Collection includes dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, and bibliographies, etc. The selection below is a representative sample of the reference works available to you. These books may be found in the Reference Room on the library main Floor. Ready Reference materials (as indicated) are found at the reference desk on 2nd floor.  Use MICAL, the online catalog to find additional materials related to your topic

Almanac of American Education
370 AL62

Deskbook Encyclopedia of American School Law
344.7307 D46

Yearbook of Education Law
379.1473 Y32


Online Reference Works