After you identify your research topic and some keywords that describe it, find and read articles in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks. These articles will help you understand the context (historical, cultural, disciplinary) of your topic. The articles and essays will provide the foundation supporting further research. The most common background source are subject encyclopedias and dictionaries from the library's print and electronic reference collection. Your textbook may provide contextual information and definitions as well.
Finding Encyclopedias, Handbooks, and Dictionaries