Reference materials include guides to the literature, bibliographies,encyclopedias, dictionaries and handbooks. Encyclopedias and dictionaries provide important background information on a topic, factual information such as names, numbers, dates etc.
In addition to the information provided in encyclopedia articles are the references usually provided at the end of articles. These are pointers to additional resources available on the topic. Bibliographies are guides to works on a topic including monographs, book chapters and journal articles. It is important to begin your research on a topic with a reference material.