Reference works such as encyclopedias and dictionaries provide basic overview articles on various branches of knowledge. They are excellent places to begin research on your topic. Although citing reference works is not considered scholarly practice, they can provide general knowledge about your topic, help you develop a thesis, supply you with important keywords for searching, and provide you with citations to important primary and secondary works on the topic.
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The library also has a number of online reference works that are relevant to East Asian Studies. Some are listed below.