Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

A guide for students doing GWSS research

Library Research Guide

Reference Sources

Reference sources are generally used to provide quick, factual information or explanation about a topic. They might include books like general encyclopedias or dictionaries, or ones that are more specific to a particular issue. Websites might also provide good information. Be sure to assess their validity!

General Sources

These are just a few examples of reference sources that you can access in full text online from K-State Libraries' subscriptions. See the Books tab on the left side of this guide for information about how to search for additional items.

Specific topics

Here are a few examples of reference sources that deal with a more focused topic. 


There are an almost unlimited number of websites where you can find useful reference information, including: statistical information, encyclopedia-type articles, and laws and policies. Below is a sampling of relevant sites.

Any time you use a website, you will want to assess its validity. Who created it? Where is the information from? How old is the information? Whose voices are represented?

There is more information about finding websites on the Political Information page in this guide. 

Even Wikipedia articles can be a quick place to get a good overview of a topic. Wikipedia is a good starting point because you can follow their links and sources to discover researchers, agencies, and organizations that produce relevant data, reports, and insight.

If you ever find that Wikipedia is the only place you can find information, Ask a Librarian for help.