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Why find background information?
Why find background information before you start your research?
- Provides an overview, "big-picture" understanding of a topic.
- Provides basic facts, figures, dates, & events related to your topic.
- Explains issues related to your topic.
- Summarizes your topic.
- Identifies people who have written as experts about the topic.
- Provides topic-specific words or terms that you can use as keywords in your database searches.
- May provide ideas about specific aspects of your topic you will want to focus on.
Find background info using PowerSearch
PowerSearch has a feature called "Research Starter" which offers short summaries & overviews of more than 64,000 popular topics.
- Articles are from the Salem Press Encyclopedia, Encylopedia Brittanica, and Magill Medical Guide.
- Research Starters appear when the topic search term is broad since it is overview information.
Step 1: Enter search terms in PowerSearch
Step 2: View resulting Research Starter
Find background information using encyclopedias
Encyclopedias are a great source of background information.