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HLTH 235: Food Systems

Background Information

A good way to begin your research is to find sources of background information. This is especially important if you are unfamiliar with the subject area.

Use encyclopedias, handbooks and dictionaries to:

  • Gain an overview of the subject
  • Find definitions of a topic
  • Identify more specific aspects of the topic
  • Provide context and theory
  • Identify experts related to the field
  • Find keywords and subject-specific vocabulary terms that can be used for database searches
  • Find bibliographies that lead to additional resources

Reference Works


Consult authoritative encyclopedias, such as the one listed below, to get a broad overview of a subject. a concise overview of a concept, thought or person.

Selected encyclopedias include:


Use handbooks to locate in-depth articles written by noted experts. Handbooks typically offer thorough introductions to topics and a critical survey of the current state of scholarship in a particular field. 

Selected handbooks include:


Provide authoritative definitions of words, concepts, etc.