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How To Do Research

Background Research

Before you find in-depth sources like journal articles or studies, learn about the big picture of your topic and gain some historical or global perspective about it. That way, you can contextualize the sources you find later. Think of background research as the searching you do to inform how you research a topic. Reference books, like encyclopedias, can help you find:

  • An overview of your topic
  • Words or phrases that are commonly used to describe your topic
  • Names, dates, and facts about the topic
  • The history of your topic​

Background Research Sources in the Library