ENG 112: Research Writing (Eddy)

Preliminary Research

Unless you are very familiar with your subject matter, you will want to spend a significant amount of time identifying the specific topic that interests you. In fact, you may want to examine several potential topics from which to make a final choice. The library has access to many subject-specialized reference sources that would assist in this initial step, such as reference sources about history of poverty in the United States, Minnesota History, immigration, art, music, etc. 

 Even though the likelihood that Winona or a Winona specific topic is discussed in any of the below resources is low, your research will benefit from learning general information related to your Winona topic and add a layer of complexity to your final project. Use one or several of the below resources to conduct a bit of preliminary research:

Reference Books

reference book is a specialized resource (encyclopedia, dictionary, handbook, atlas, guidebook, etc.). Here's how to find a reference book using the Krueger Library catalog:

  1. From the library homepage, select the Catalog link under the Research drop-down menu.
  2. Select the Advanced search option, a link just to the right of the search box.
  3. Select Reference from theCollection menu.
  4. Go to the next box for instructions on how to use the WSU Library Catalog.

Please find below a list of reference print resources that cover food topics. Many of the articles are written by experts and contain a bibliographic list. These books are located in the Reference Collection (1st floor). They cannot be checked out, but you can scan, photocopy, or take a photograph of the page(s) you need. Remember to write down all of the citation information

General Encyclopedia vs. Subject Encyclopedia

general encyclopedia will contain information about a wide range of topics.

The articles are: 

  • written by an editor or staff writer (not necessarily experts)
  • not usally signed, meaning no author is listed
  • short, usually under 100 words in length
  • provide an overview on a topic, but not a lot of specific or detailed information
  • Examples:
    • Encyclopedia Britannica (a Krueger Library Database)
    • Encyclopedia Americana (Printed set in the Reference Collection, REF AE5 .E333)


subject encyclopedia will be more focused and detailed information on a specific subject.

The articles are: 

  • written typically by an author with professional knowledge or educational background on the topic
  • signed by the author
  • longer in length; word length varies
  • more detailed and specific about a topic than a general encyclopedia
  • sources are often cited
  • Examples:
    • The Oxofrd Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (Printed set in the Reference Collection, TX349 .E45 2004)
    • The Oxford Companion to the Book (Printed set in the Reference Collection, REF Z4 .O89 2010 )