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Step 2: Get Background Information
Now that you've chosen a topic and developed a research question, get background information which will help you in subsequent steps. Background sources, also known as reference sources, include dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks. Try these collections of background sources to gather authoritative information about your topic.
Credo Reference This link opens in a new window
An online, cross-searchable collection of reference books on a variety of subjects from more than 50 publishers.
EBooks (Gale) This link opens in a new window
Cross-searchable collection of over two thousand reference titles from Gale. Previously known as Gale Virtual Reference Library.
Cross-searchable collection of encyclopedias and handbooks from the publisher SAGE.
Why Use Background Sources?
Background sources will help you:
- Learn important dates and events around your topic
- Browse a chronology or timeline for your topic
- Discover what scholars are talking about when they talk about your topic
- Find out who the experts are: who researches and writes about your topic
- Explore keywords and subject-specific vocabulary that can be used for database searches
- Find bibliographies that lead to additional resources