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Kinesiology & Nutrition Science: Reference Sources

A general guide to library resources in the area of Kinesiology

What is a Reference Source?

"Reference works" is an overall term for resources that take an introductory approach to a particular subject and are meant to be consulted for definite items of information (rather than being read consecutively like you would read a novel). These generally include:

  • encyclopedias
  • introductory texts
  • dictionaries
  • atlases
  • almanacs
  • handbooks
  • biographical sources
  • indexes

Reference works are usually written by scholars and contain the essential information you ought to know before beginning more detailed research. Note: The term "reference works" is also sometimes used to refer to items that cannot be checked out from the library.

For more information, see our Intro to Library Research guide.

How to Use an Online Reference Source

Reference resources are organized in a way that aids searching (alphabetically, chronologically, etc).  Most include an index which will direct you to the appropriate section.  Tips for searching:

  1. Decide on your search terms
  2. Try searching with them
  3. If not satisfied with the results, try searching a synonym or related idea

Things to watch out for:

  • Is the computer searching only the title/header of the entries or the full-text of the information?  You will get more results, but more of them will be irrelevant if you are searching the full-text.
  • Are you searching for a proper noun (name, place,...)?  Make sure that the spelling is correct and try variations if it originated in a foreign language.
  • Searching for something by date?  This is trickier than it sounds.  If possible, search for an event name or topic rather than a date, e.g. civil rights movement or hippies or flower children rather than 1960s.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

LC Subject Headings are classifications agreed upon by all US libraries and be an invaluable tool when you are searching for information. While keyword searches may bring up more titles, LC Subject searching can bring up more accurate lists of works specifically related to your field of study. Need more? Click over to LINK+ and continue your searching there. Need even more? WorldCat includes over 54 million entries from more than 45,000 libraries. You may also place Interlibrary Loan requests. (Slower than LINK+)

Examples of Subject Headings searches:

LC Subject: Human mechanics

LC Subject: Sports medicine

LC Subject: Physical therapy

LC Subject: Running

LC Subject: Exercise

LC Subject: Athletics


To learn more about LC Subject Headings and authorities, visit the Library of Congress Authorities website.

Electronic Reference Books

The books listed below are fully accessible and searchable electronic reference books.  They are especially useful for acquiring background information or reading up on the history of your topic.  They can also be helpful in providing key words that you will use when searching electronic databases for journal articles.

Reference Books In The Library

All reference books are located on the First Floor adjacent to the Reference Desk. Reference books are for in library use only. The following resources are useful during paper and presentation drafting.