Your Research Plan
- Choose a Topic
- Find Background Information
- General encyclopedias
- Subject-specific encyclopedias
- Reliable web sources
- Find Articles, Books, Web Sites
- Evaluate Your Sources
- Write Your Paper & Cite Sources
Why Background Information?
Background information is the foundation upon which you build good research.
Reading background information allows you to quickly learn more about a subject and help you make informed decisions about how to approach your research and select reliable sources.
Background reading will help you:
- Identify key concepts, names, events, authors, terms, etc. associated with your topic.
- Determine whether your topic is too narrow or too broad.
- Figure out if there is concensus or controversy surrounding your topic.
- Understand the historical context and relationships to other topics.
- Find potential articles & books in bibliographies.
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
Find a brief definition or overview of your topic using the Library's online dictionaries and encyclopedias.