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Education Research Step-by-Step

An online guide designed to help teacher education students do research in the Spring Hill College libraries.

Sources of background information

Background information can be found in: 

  • textbooks
  • dictionaries
  • general encyclopedias
  • subject-specific encyclopedias 
  • article databases

The importance of background information

After choosing a topic, you will need to locate introductory sources that give basic background information about the subject. Finding background information at the beginning of your research is especially important if you are unfamiliar with the subject area, or not sure from what angle to approach your topic. Some of the information that a background search can provide includes:

  • 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