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Research 101: Find Background Information

A guide to help you develop good research skills!



If you can't find an encyclopedia, dictionary or textbook article on your topic, try using broader keywords or ask a librarian for help.

For example, if your topic is Global Warming, consider searching for an encyclopedia on the environment.

Purpose of Background Information

Background Information
It serves many purposes, such as:

  • Providing a good overview of the subject matter.
  • Highlighting important facts related to your topic, such as: 
         terminology, dates, events, history, names, and organizations.
  • Helping you refine your topic
  • Leading you to bibliographies that you can use to find additional sources of information on your topic.

How to Find background information 
After you have identified the 
key terminology, Background Information can be found in:

  • textbooks
  • dictionaries
  • general encyclopedias
  • subject-specific encyclopedias  
  • article databases

These sources are often listed on the Find Books tab of our subject guides. You can browse a complete list of the Library's guides by visiting the LibGuides homepage.


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     Call the reference desk with your
     research questions.

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