Finding Background Information

Finding background information will assist you in developing your topic further. Using your key concepts, look up information on your topic in dictionaries or encyclopedias. You may need to narrow the scope of your research.

Subject encyclopedias are more specific than general encyclopedias and will provide more precise background information. You can locate a subject encyclopedia by using the subject search function of the online catalog ( For example, to find an encyclopedia of psychology, you would type “psychology–encyclopedias” in the subject box.

Your lecture notes, textbooks, and reserve readings can be used as background sources as well.