Skip to main content

How do I Library?: Background Information & Facts

What to look for

Background information can help you prepare for further research by explaining all the issues related to your topic, especially when you're investigating a field that's unfamiliar to you. Tips:

  • Check for background information in: dictionaries, handbooks and encyclopedias.
  • Look for facts in: statistical guides, almanacs, biographical sources, or handbooks.
  • Collect keywords or important terms, concepts and author names to use when searching databases.
  • Start thinking in broad terms, then narrow down your topic. 
  • Look at bibliographies to guide you to other sources of information (books, articles, etc.)

 See also:

Library H3lp: 24-7 research assistance

Credit

This work is an adaptation of MIT Libraries' "Selecting a Research Topic guide: http://libguides.mit.edu/select-topic and used with permission and in compliance with Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 License restrictions.