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Research Skills: Step-By-Step: Find Background Information

This guide will help you to develop your research skills and better understand the research process.

Do Background Research

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

Background research can:

  • Provide a good overview of the topic if you are unfamiliar with it.
  • Help identify important facts -- terminology, dates, events, history, organisations, etc.
  • Help refine your topic.
  • Lead to bibliographies which can provide additional sources of information.

Sources of Background Information

  • Textbooks
  • Dictionaries
  • General encyclopedias
  • Subject-specific encyclopedias 
  • Web searches

Image Source: OpenClipart. (2013, October 7). Information icon [image]. Pixabay.

Information Sources

Before starting your research, it's important to understand the types of information sources available.

They include:

  • Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  • Books & E-Books
  • Videos & Images
  • Articles from newspapers, magazines and journals
  • Grey Literature (such as government reports, conference proceedings, research reports etc)
  • Websites

The types of resources you choose for your assignment will be governed by the type of information you require.

To create the most effective and efficient searches for locating information, use the search strategies shown in this guide.