Skip to Main Content

Fullerton College Library

Research 101: Getting Background Information

Getting Started With Research at Fullerton College Library

Read for Background Information on Your Topic

building blocksOnce you've selected a broad topic to explore, scan reference sources, such as subject-specific encyclopedias and handbooks to: 

1) Understand the basic facts related to the topic

2) Generate questions to guide your research

3) Identify important ideas and terms to investigate further

Research Starters in OneSearch

Search a main topic in OneSearch to retrieve a Start Your Research encyclopedic article for a topic overview.

OneSearch barstart your research example

Specialized Encyclopedias in Gale eBooks

Browse or search Gale eBooks for reference book essays with background information, topic overviews, and primary sources. If you retrieve several articles with the same title, look at the names of the sources or encyclopedias, which will tell you the discipline covering the topic. For instance, you may decide that you want to read about meditation from both a psychological perspective and a medical one.

screenshot of result screen

Specialized Encyclopedias in eBook Academic Collection

Search the eBook Academic Collection for reference books by searching the books titles for the terms encyclopedia or handbook or dictionary, like this:

[ encyclopedia or handbook or dictionary ] in the [ TI Title ] 

Further narrow your search by adding your topic to the second search bar, like this:

 AND [ mindfulness ] in [ Select a Field (optional) ] 

screenshot of search


If you aren't getting many hits, you can expand your results by by changing "Select a Field" to "TX All Text" like this:

[ encyclopedia or handbook or dictionary ]  in the [ TI Title ] 

AND [ mindfulness ]  in [ TX All Text ] 

screenshot of search


Opinions Throughout History Volumes:

Each single in-depth volume traces public opinion on current, controversial topics from our nation's early history to the present using a range of primary and secondary documents, including newspaper and magazine articles, speeches, court decisions, and other legislation. 

Print Reference Books

Browse specialized encyclopedias and other reference books for topic ideas, topic overviews, and background knowledge. Here are a few titles from the reference area:

Find Reference Books in the Catalog

Search the library catalog for more print and online reference titles.

In the left column of the result screen, under LOCATION, select REFERENCE COLLECTION - 1ST FLOOR 

screenshot of catalog limiters to narrow to reference collection