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FYSE 114 Research (Ward): Find Background Info

Why background research helps

Getting background information and general facts about your topic is a good way to start your research. This not only helps you better understand your topic, but it also 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

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Credo is a library database containing digital versions of encyclopedias and other reference works. Think of it as an academic Wikipedia, only curated by librarians instead of the general public.

Primary/Secondary Sources

A note about primary sources and secondary sources.

Primary sources are the Harry Potter books written by J.K. Rowling. Primary sources could also include newspaper accounts of book or movie releases, and diaries by J.K. Rowling.

Secondary sources are the criticisms ABOUT any of the books, characters, the author, the movies, the actors, etc.

If this is not clear, please ask a librarian for clarification!

How to use an Encyclopedia

As a Background Source: The purpose of an encyclopedia is to provide basic information about a topic. Within the article, you should encounter important terms, the names of notable people, and background information on the topic. This can help you establish a foundation for your research.

Never Cite an Encyclopedia Article: This is something that is not done in academic writing. 

Use the Bibliography at the End of an Article: Sources included are considered classic books and articles on the topic.

Oxford Reference


Search Oxford Reference Online