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Get Your Research Started: The Basic Steps: Background Research

Why background research helps

Getting background and some basic facts about your topic is a good way to start.  This helps not only get some initial information but helps you formulate the boundaries of your research and key terms for your thesis statement.  It can be a helpful guide to begin to narrow down your topic into a coherent and specific area.

Credo Reference

Gale Virtual Reference Library

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Encyclopedia notes

Generally you don't cite encyclopedias in research papers, but they can:

  • provide great background information 
  • lead you to books and articles that you can cite
  • help you narrow and focus your topic

Don't be afraid of the actual print, non-web, reference encyclopedias!

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Oxford Reference


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