Public Speaking & Rhetoric: Reference Works

Why Reference Works?

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

  • 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

PSU Library Catalog - Books


Results include both print books and ebooks, available from Portland State Library and other libraries.


Most encyclopedias and dictionaries are considered reference works, providing short overviews on topics.  The PSU Library has a variety of specialized encyclopedias, from music to gun control in print or online.

Core Resources

Related Resources