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Find Background Information

Finding background information in a specialized reference work at the beginning of your research is especially important if you are unfamiliar with the subject area, need to focus or narrow your topic or are not sure from what angle to approach your research.

Specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias or handbooks can provide:

  • Background information on a topic;
  • Broad overview of the subject;
  • Names of people who are authorities in the subject field;
  • Bibliographies that lead to additional resources; and
  • Main concepts or keywords that describe your topic.