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Emergency and Fire Services: Encyclopedias, Etc.

Reference Tools FAQ

Why Use Reference Tools?

  • Get a good overview and history of a topic, term or issue.
  • Focus your topic and place it properly within context of the field of study
  • Find alternate keywords to help locate relevant articles and books.

Can I Cite an Encyclopedia in my Paper?

Ask your instructor, but normally, encyclopedias provide insufficient information when researching a topic in the academic environment. Encyclopedias are not meant to be your only source for research. Instead, use them as a starting point to gain a basic understanding of the scope and terminology associated with your topic so that you can then begin in-depth research. Many entries do contain a "Further Reading" section, however, that you may find useful for locating more detailed information.

Reference Databases

Encyclopedias and other reference works provide background information for your research. In general, you do not cite them in your paper.

Click here for more information on using reference materials to get started with your research.

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