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Step 2: Find Background Information

Once you have a main topic and keywords for your research, find one or more sources of background information. These sources tell you about your topic in a general sense - and help you understand the broader context of it. General sources also provide references for further research.


Begin with your class textbook. Check sources cited in the text.


For more, see Dictionaries & Encyclopedias under Research by Subject.


Subject-specific encyclopedias have more detailed articles written by experts in a field. Bibliographies in these sources tend to be more comprehensive.

Many subject encyclopedias are in the Reference section of Plough Library. To find a subject-specific encyclopedia, search the Library Catalog. Do a keyword search for your subject followed by the word "encyclopedia."

For example:

If you need an encyclopedia on education, enter "education encyclopedia" in the library catalog search box.