Applied Linguistics: Reference Works

A research guide for Applied Linguistics

Electronic Reference Resources

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Encyclopedias and dictionaries provide excellent background/overview information, providing an excellent way to begin research. Many provide bibliographies for further reading. Mostly located in the second-floor reference collection from approximately P29 - P200s, here's a sampling of some of the print resources available:


The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, 3rd ed.
P29 .C64 2010 | Reference

The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics
P29 .E48 1994 | Reference

Encyclopedia of Semiotics
P99 .E64 1998 | Reference

Concise Encyclopedia of Pragmatics
P99.4 .P72 C62 1998 | Reference

Concise Encyclopedia of Syntactic Theories
P291 .C575 1996 | Reference

Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies
P306 .R68 1998 | Reference

A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics
P29 .C65 2003 | Reference

Dictionary of Languages : the Definitive Reference to More than 400 Languages
P29 .D35 1998 | Reference

Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Sciences of Language
P29 .D813 | Reference

Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics
P129 .R5 1992 | Reference

A Dictionary of Phonetics and Phonology
P216 .T73 1996 | Reference

Why Reference Works?

Reference works are an excellent first stop in your research and are incredibly useful for the following:

  • Getting an overview of a topic
  • Getting topic ideas for a paper topic or narrowing your topic
  • Brainstorming keywords for searching and learning the vocabulary used by authors in that area
  • Learning the key works on a given topic
  • Discovering the key authors on a given topic

Reference works are a good starting off point, but should not be cited in your research as they are not considered primary or secondary sources. The only exception is when reference works contain primary and secondary sources (like collections of documents and essays).