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Research Process: A Step-by-Step Guide: 1d. Find Background Information

Sources of Background Information

Background information can be found in:

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

These and other sources are often listed on our research guides.

Purpose of Background Research

Once you have identified some keywords, the next step is to find background information on your topic. Background research:

  • Provides a good overview of the topic if you are unfamiliar with it.
  • Helps identify important facts -- terminology, dates, events, history, organizations, etc.
  • Can help refine your topic.
  • Leads to bibliographies which provide additional sources of information.