Search for books, articles, and more.
Reference sources can help you find background information on your topic. This is helpful for general understanding, especially if you are new to this topic. These sources can also help you identify some good keywords to use as you research further. Most people know about Wikipedia--for a more scholarly source of background information, try the library database Credo Reference.
Peer-reviewed journal articles and academic books provide in-depth information, generally written by highly-regarded experts. Many initiatives to overcome societal problems are rooted in scholarly research. Can you draw connections between your artifact and scholarly research?
Find these in a number of library databases. The Discovery Service includes results from many (but not all!) of these databases at once. Starting with an Advanced Search is helpful when you are combining two or more search terms/concepts.
To fully understand context and impact, you may need to consult media reports on a topic/situation. You can filter newspaper articles in a Discovery search, but it can be more efficient to search newspapers directly. Some library databases are devoted specifically to newspapers.
You can learn a lot about your artifact by searching the web. For example, you may need to visit the website of the organization or person who created your artifact. You can be a power searcher of Google by using the Advanced Search.
Google Advanced Search allows you to search by last update, site or domain, and file type, all of which can be helpful when searching for an artifact. You can also easily search for and browse archived magazines (ads and all) in Google Books.