WR 227 Introduction to Technical Writing: Reference Works: Overview and Background

Why Reference Works?

Reference works are a good first step in your research and are useful for:

  • a topic overview
  • ideas for a paper topic 
  • learning the vocabulary used by topic experts
  • keywords for searching or narrowing a topic
  • important works on a your topic
  • key authors on a topic

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

An excellent general science and technology encyclopedia with coverage of every area of science.

Here is a very short list of subject-specific encyclopedias the Library has.

Subject Research Guides and Reference Sources

The librarians at Portland State University Library have written library research guides for all the disciplines the University offers. These guides point to important databases, types of information used in various disciplines, or strategies that may be needed to do research in a particular topic area.  There are several professional, science, and technical guides that might be of interest for technical writers. To name but a few that may be of interest to technical writers: Biology, Chemistry, Physics Electrical and Computer Engineering, Engineering and Technology Management, Environmental Science & Management, Legal Resources, Mechanical and Materials Engineering,  

Check out the Reference Works pages in these guides:

Environmental Science and Management