STEPS Library Support

Library information and help for Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) students

What are reference resources?

Reference resources consist of items such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, atlases, directories, or statistical sources as well as periodical indexes, and subject bibliographies.

Dictionaries and encyclopedias may help you gain an understanding of the topic area by providing background information, definitions or explanations of words and concepts. Some of these resources may be useful in leading you to additional primary and secondary sources of information. 

Note: Encyclopedias and dictionaries are classed as tertiary sources as they summarise the knowledge relevant to a particular topic or area.

How do I find reference resources?

You can go to Library Search to find reference resources in a particular area e.g. education, health, business and use one of the following searches:

  • keyword search (e.g. use keywords such as encyclopedia AND psychology or, handbook AND education)

  • title search (e.g. International Encyclopedia of Education)


You can access online reference material through the following database:

Note:  Access individual databases through the More Search Options link on the Library homepage.

Searching Oxford Reference database (trial)

Use this search box to find definitions and synonyms:

Search Oxford Reference Online

For more search options within this database, go to the complete version of Oxford Reference.