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BWRIT 135: Research Writing (Brown): Background Information

General Reference Sources

Reference sources (encyclopedias, handbooks, topic overviews) are a good place to find background information on your topic. Many reference entries also have reading lists that can help to lead you to additional resources on your topic. These sources are intended to give you a broad overview, help you develop subject-appropriate terminology, and spark your creativity as you begin to formulate a research question.


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Keywords include

  • synonyms,
  • broader or narrower terms,
  • and related terms,

but they might also be

  • phrases,
  • names,
  • or places.

One Perfect Source?

Your topic seemed so great! So why can't you find any information on it? If you're looking for an all-in-one source that addresses your topic perfectly, you might need a different approach.

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