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Library DIY

I Want To Learn More About A Possible Topic (aka Find Background Information)

Before beginning more in-depth research, it's often helpful to get an overview of your topic through background research. This can help you develop a more effective research question and brainstorm better search terms.

  • Your instructor understands your assignment and can provide advice about the topic and how to frame it. 
  • Ask a Librarian! We're available in person, via virtual chat, email, and phone. 
  • Check out our guide on general Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
  • Subject Encyclopedias and other reference resources (such as Wikipedia) can help you develop your topic and identify key search terms. They contain short topic overviews and scholarly references.  
  • If there are journals related to the general area you are studying ad you're brainstorming possible topics, look through recent tables of contents for ideas and background information on possible topics. You can browse eJournals by subject.
  • Get more ideas for reference books for background research by checking out our Subject Guides or Course Guides

 Here are a few useful databases for exploring potential topics: