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Get Your Research Started: The Basic Steps: Finding Background Info

Reference Sources

Finding background information


To learn more about your topic, start by looking at basic reference materials such as encyclopedias. These resources contain not only fundamental information on your topic, but also include a bibliography, or list of citations, that will lead you to more information. The Encyclopedia Britannica is one well known general source.

A reference librarian can also direct you to more specific encyclopedias in your subject area, such as the Grove Music Online or The Encyclopedia of Energy (print resource - Ref TJ 163.28 E53).

To find background sources on your own, perform a keyword search in Reference Universe -- an indext to thousands of Encyclopedias. 

Or refer to the research guides arranged by major and minor and click on print resources.