Oliver Wendell Holmes Library Catalog
Reference books should only be used for an overview, and not as one of your major sources. Because reference book articles are short, you are not going to find the level of detail required to write a successful paper.
Circulating books offers more specific information on one major subject with lots of details in its further subdivision. You may also find lots of supporting materials via facts, personal experience or survey as well as possible some statistics. It takes you to a deeper level of research.
Besides the main content of a book, the parts of a book itself can provide information useful for research. The main parts of a book include:
Table of Contents: An outline or breakdown of the different chapters of a book.
Bibliography: The list of works used in the research of the book; useful for finding more informaiton on a topic.
Index: The list of key words, often including people and place names, used in the book and the page numbers for where those words appear; typically the last section of a book. Useful for knowing whether a specific person or term is referenced within the book.
Other possible sections include:
Appendix: The part or parts of a book that provide additional information to the main text; usually found near the back of the book.
Glossary: The section that defines key terms used in the book; usually found near the back of the book.