Reference sources can help build your background knowledge, point you to topics and keywords, and suggest more reading. Listed in this guide are a few general online reference databases and some subject-specific reference books (both print and online).
Take two minutes to write down as many words, ideas, and questions related to a potential topic that you can think of. What do you find interesting? What do you want to know more about? What doesn't make sense?
A reference source summarizes facts and concepts on a topic and provides useful background information. Reference sources include dictionaries and encyclopedias.