In the earliest stages of a research project, when you are looking for a possible topic or gathering basic information about a topic you have in mind, some of the best tools to use are reference resources: bibliographies, guides to research for specific subjects, specialized historical or biographical encyclopedias, and related works. These materials are designed to provide you with an introductory overview of a topic. The best reference works:
In sum, reference resources are very efficient tools to use in the early stages of research paper topic selection and topic refinement; they are practical stepping stones to the next stages of your project. They can save you time and should be consulted as you begin your work.
One excellent place to start searching for information when you're exploring a possible research topic is the full-text collection of over 940 reference titles in the Credo Reference Academic Core database.