Why An Encyclopedia Is Still A Valuable Tool In Research

When it comes to researching for a paper, being able to effectively source the information and ensure that it’s accurate is a crucial part of the process. It gives you the details you need, provides you with arguments to make and, most importantly, it can be the difference between lower and higher grades. Time and time again, students struggle with finding the right source for their information but often forgo one of the most useful ones at their disposal – an encyclopedia. Whether you need an ancient history encyclopedia, or science is more your thing, there are plenty of useful sources available to help you and here, we’re taking a look at why you should choose one.

They’re Reliable

If there was ever a source that was going to be well researched and reliable as standard, an encyclopedia would be it. Crafted with information and education in mind, these collections are arguably some of the most highly researched sources available to you and, for the most part, are entirely reliable. As with any source, cross-checking facts is ideal to provide a more in-depth insight, but an encyclopedia could provide you with a valuable and reliable starting point for your assignment or project.  

They’re Online

The term ‘encyclopedia’ can drum up images of hefty tomes filled with pages upon pages of information that you’d need to read the entire index to navigate correctly, but this outdated stereotype is far from true nowadays. In fact, you’re likely to find an encyclopedia online for free so you don’t have to buy one for yourself or lug a huge book home from the library. Their position online also gives the creator and author the chance to update information! If a new piece of research comes to light, an online encyclopedia can be kept up to date with fresh content on a regular basis.

Great For Fact-Checking

As much as fact checking information from an encyclopedia is still an important part of the research process, the same can be said in return. If you find a source online, a great way to check its accuracy and reliability is to utilise your encyclopedia to check the facts. Not every encyclopedia will have the level of detail you need for every fact, but this is often a good starting point for overview arguments and ensuring that you’re on the right track.

Provide A Useful Overview

Following on from the above points, an encyclopedia can actually provide a useful overview on a subject. If you’ve been given an assignment on a topic you may not fully understand, an encyclopedia can provide you with easy-to-understand information in a simple format that gives you precisely what you need, when you need it. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to research a topic online, only to be taken to a whole host of irrelevant or inconsistent websites and so by reading on your chosen topic in an encyclopedia first, you can get the overview you need to help more effectively analyse and understand the information you find online or through other sources.

While you should never use just one source for your research, an encyclopedia can be a great starting point. By compiling a whole host of information into an easily readable format, these sources offer a great overview of a subject and ultimately provide you with a better understanding to start with.

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