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Beginning Your Research

STEP TWO: Background Reading

Build up some general knowledge about your topic. Reference sources, such as encyclopedias,  can help you in getting context and perspective on a topic. Entries will often also include a reference list or resources used by the author. These provide great leads to track down more information on your topic. 

These are two general encyclopedia databases that are a good place to find background information on your topic and will help you build a knowledge of the major concepts, subtopics, and search terms you can use for the next step in your research.

Creating a Word Bank of Search Terms

"Different Research Strategies." ProQuest, 23 Jan. 2014,

This short video demonstrates how to make a word bank of search terms and phrases you can use to find information on your topic in databases. Watch the video until 5:56 minutes. 

3 Tips for Online Searching

Learn how to use Boolean Operators to do effective searches.