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The Research Process: Find Background Information

Class activity for freshman/sophomore college students @ ECSU

Developing a Topic

1. Selecting a topic

2. Identify keywords

3. Finding background information


Start taking notes early! Record where you get all of your information, this will help when it comes to citations later.

Sources of Background Information

Background information can be found in:

  • textbooks
  • dictionaries
  • general encyclopedias
  • subject-specific encyclopedias  
  • article databases

Purpose of Background Research

Once you have identified some keywords, the next step is to find background information on your topic. Background research:

  • Provides a good overview of the topic if you are unfamiliar with it.
  • Helps identify important facts -- terminology, dates, events, history, organizations, etc.
  • Can help refine your topic.
  • Leads to bibliographies which provide additional sources of information.

G.R. Little Library

Elizabeth City State University