Skip to Main Content
PolyU Library

ELC1011 - Practical English for University Studies

Related Guide(s)

Got Questions? Contact Your Faculty Librarian

Faculty Librarians are designated librarians for your faculty, who can offer specialized help on your course assignment and research project. Make an appointment with your Faculty Librarian for in-depth assistance!

Need Help? Contact Us!

By Phone 2766-6863
WhatsApp 2766-6863 (service hours)
Online Enquiry Online Form or Email (
In person Enquiry Counter, P/F, Pao Yue-kong Library
Information Consultancy Service Contact your Faculty Librarians on in-depth research questions

Where to Start?

Before working on the Group Digital Documentary, first, we need to understand a bit more about the topic. You can start by consulting some reference works and developing your search terms.

Still, you can use the internet search engine (e.g. Google) or any other public source like Wikipedia, but you need to check it very carefully to make sure that it is from credible sources (e.g. government websites, reputable online newspapers, etc.)

Note. From Sources of information for Wikipedia articles[illustration], by Helixitta, 2015, Wikimedia Commons ( CC BY-SA 3.0.

From Reference Works

Reference works include Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Handbooks. Reading articles published in reference works helps you: 

  • Get authoritative summary information on a field or subject
  • Understand the key issues, history, and sometimes, the latest debates on a topic without going through dozens of books, journal articles, and other materials.
  • Develop a mind map on a topic and learn keywords and terminologies for further research. 

Useful Reference Works Resources:

Below are a few recommended sources where you can find reference works. Try searching your topic in any of these sources and see if you can find any interesting articles and further expand your terminology.

Reference Works Resources Quick Guides

Credo Reference helps you find short articles on a topic from thousands of reference books in different disciplines. It's the scholarly version of Wikipedia.

Here you can see an example. After searching the topic, we got a few articles (and sometimes a mind map too) related to the topic.

Credo Reference

SAGE Knowledge is another database to find published referene works. If you wish to explore a topic in more details, you can read more from these handbooks and encyclopedia articles.

Sage knowledge 

OneSearch is library's search engine where you can find almost everything the Library has including books, journals, DVDs. You can use OneSearch to search the reference works too. Run a search on your topic and limit by "Reference Entries". Clicking on the search result will bring you to the article published in reference works.

Find Reference entries in OneSearch

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia. It's a great tool to help you quickly get an overview of a topic and understand the key issues or latest debates.

Sometimes students may come up with this question:

Should I use Wikipedia for research?

The short answer is, yes you can. However, you need to:

  • Remember that Wikipedia is a wiki where anyone can edit, delete or add false information.
  • Always check the source and cite the original sources.
  • Use information from credible sources, e.g.scholarly journals, government websites, professional associations, reputable online newspapers, etc.

Below is a snapshot of an Wikipedia article's reference list, with a few creditable sources highlighted.

cite the original sources


Helixitta. (2015). Sources of information for Wikipedia articles [Clip art]. Wikimedia Commons.