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What is a background resource?
Photo: UW Visual Asset Collection
Katherine B. Turner
Background resources provide contextual information and may include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, maps, statistical sources, and more. Once you have identified the main topic and keywords for your research, find one or more background resources to read. These resources will help you understand the broader context of your research and tell you in general terms what is known about your topic.
Links to Background Resources
Gale Virtual Reference
Searches a variety of encyclopedias on many different topics. Includes numerous subject specific reference sources (encyclopedias with more in-depth coverage). Entries contain reference lists for further reading.
Contains encyclopedias covering a wide variety of subjects.
Reports, summaries, and pro/con views on a range of current issues, 1923-present.
Oxford Research Encyclopedias
Peer-reviewed articles in 12 of the encyclopedias: African History, American History, Communication, Education, Environmental Science, International Studies, Latin American History, Literature, Oxford Classical Dictionary, Politics, Psychology & Religion.