Library:Library Research Skills For Biologists/Module 2/Page 05

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The final stage in the process of scholarly communication is the TERTIARY LITERATURE or the reference sources such as encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, etc.

Reference sources provide you with an overview of a topic once it has become widely accepted in the field. Reference sources are a good place to look when you are just starting to research a topic. You probably won't cite an encyclopedia or a handbook but it will give you that little push in the right direction. For example, if I didn't know anything about insulin, I might start by looking in the online reference book the Concise medical dictionary [1].

References Cited:

  1. Concise medical dictionary. 2010. Oxford University Press, Oxford, NY.