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What are Reference Materials?. Reference materials are resources used to help you find information that you need. There are two main types of resources: Primary and Secondary. Primary Sources. Primary sources are ones that have a firsthand relationship to the topic.

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what are reference materials
What are Reference Materials?
  • Reference materials are resources used to help you find information that you need.

There are two main types of resources: Primary and Secondary

primary sources
Primary Sources
  • Primary sources are ones that have a firsthand

relationship to the topic.

Examples: diaries

eyewitness account


public speeches

private journals

secondary sources
Secondary Sources
  • Secondary sources are documents written later about the event or person. They have the advantage of hindsight, historical perspective, analysis and possible later revelations that shed new light on the event.
  • Examples: encyclopedias




types of resources
Types of Resources
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Encyclopedia
  • Almanac
  • Atlas
  • Publications
  • Electronic Sources (internet)
  • A dictionary lists words in alphabetical order.

In addition to the pronunciation of a word, the number of syllables, origin of the word, part of speech and numbered meaning are also given.


noun \ˈdik-shə-ˌner-ē, -ˌne-rē\


1: a reference source in print or electronic form containing words usually alphabetically arranged along with information about their forms, pronunciations, functions, etymologies, meanings, and syntactical and idiomatic uses

  • A thesaurus is a book of words and their synonyms and antonyms.


Synonyms:blabby, chatty, conversational, gabby, garrulous, talkative, motormouthed, mouthy, talky

Antonyms:closemouthed, laconic, reserved, reticent, taciturn, tight-lipped, uncommunicative

  • An encyclopedia is a set of books that gives facts about people, places, and things. Each book is a volume. The articles in each volume are arranged in alphabetical order .The last volume is usually an index that lists alphabetically all the topics in the set.
  • An almanac is a reference book that has many facts on both history and current events. A new updated almanac is written every year. Almanacs have just “tidbits” of information on any given topic. For more detailed information you would use an encyclopedia or a book on the subject you are researching.
  • An atlas is a reference book that contains maps of many places. It also gives geographical facts. An atlas has an index at the back of the book. The index lists all the places on all the maps in the atlas and tells where each can be found.
  • Publications also include written works like magazines, journals, and newspapers. These publications have more current information than books and encyclopedias as they are published, daily, weekly, or monthly.
electronic sources
Electronic Sources
  • Electronic sources are those found on the internet. There are many databases, software programs, and web sites on the internet where you can find a wealth of information.
organizational features
Organizational Features
  • Most resources use text organizers to help you to locate and organize information.
  • Appendix – information at the back of a book: glossary, index, maps, etc.
  • Bibliography – a list of books and other works used as references in the source
  • Footnote – a note placed at the bottom of a page which provides additional information
  • Graphic features – type that brings attention to certain information: bold face type, italic type, or bullets
  • Heading – titles of sections
  • Table of contents - a list of chapter, heading, subheadings as well as the page numbers where they can be found.
test your knowledge
Test your Knowledge
  • Where would you find a map of Florida?
  • To write a report on Abraham Lincoln, where would you look for detailed information?
  • Where would find what part of speech the word lackadaisical is?
  • Where would you find the name of the team who won the 2009 World Series?
  • Where would you find a synonym for the word bestow?
  • Where would you find the name of who won the election for mayor of Mustang?

7. Your must have a primary source of information for your civics report on local government. Where do you find that information?

A. A local newspaper

B. An encyclopedia

C. An interview with the mayor

D. An issue of Time magazine

8. Where would you find the page number for the chapter on urban government?

A. The bibliography page

B. The table of content

C. The glossary

D. The footnotes


Where do you site your information sources?

A. Table of content

B. Appendix

C. Bibliography or works cited page

D. Footnotes

  • If you wanted to give the definition of a word that appeared in the text so that students could obtain it easily while they were reading, where would you put it?

A. In a dictionary C. In the bibliography

B. In the footnotes D. In the appendix

  • 1. atlas
  • 2 encyclopedia or internet
  • 3. dictionary
  • 4. almanac
  • 5. thesaurus
  • 6. Mustang newspaper
  • 7. C – an interview
  • 8. B – the table of content
  • 9. C – bibliography or works cited page
  • 10. B - In the footnotes at the bottom of the page