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Fullerton College Library

ENGL 100/101/103/201 Rosen

Getting started with background information

Finding background information at the beginning of your research is important if you are not an expert in the subject area or not sure from what angle to approach your topic.  Background information can provide:

  • A broad overview of the subject
  • Definitions of the topic
  • Introduction to key issues
  • Names of people who are authorities in the subject field
  • Major dates and events
  • Keywords and subject-specific vocabulary terms that can be used for database searches
  • Bibliographies that lead to additional resources

Take the time to learn about your topic before you decide on a research question. It can save you time in the long run.

OneSearch has a fantastic tool for background information: the Research Starter. In OneSearch, many topics include Research Starters as a way to build your understanding of a concept before you start the real search. Think of them as the academic version of Wikipedia. Use the OneSearch box below to see if your topic has a Research Starter. 

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You can also find background information in the Gale eBooks. Use the link below to search for your topic.