When you begin research on a topic with which you are not familiar, you may want to start by reading some basic materials written by experts in their fields. This is a great way to research smarter, not harder!
Here are some resources to get you started on your journey of discovery:
Encyclopedias can provide definitions and general background information on a topic. Refer to UW Tacoma's Dictionaries & Encylopedias Guide for more information.
For example, Education Today: Issues, Policies & Practices (2018) examines education in America, with articles written by education experts and administrators on a wide range of topics, starting with a historical look at education, and including sections on: Education Theory; Psychology; Law; Government; School Safety; Diversity; Curriculum; Counseling; Teaching Methods; Technology in Education; Testing; Alternative Education; Teacher Education; International Perspectives; and more. (available through Gale Ebooks)
Handbooks are good resources for discovering information about a topic. They are written by experts and often provide overviews of research and topics as well as including bibliographies that help you find additional studies related to the topic. See examples below:
Dictionaries offer you a quick way to look up a relevant term in your field. Unsure of who Piaget was? Want to remind yourself of what intrinsic motivation or scaffolding are?
Books are often good places to start your explorations. Scholarly books contain authoritative information which can include comprehensive or in-depth coverage of research, historical perspectives, and overviews of a topic. They are good for getting background information on a topic, to add more in-depth information to your topic, and often to get multiple views on a topic. Click on the Books tab on the left for information on how to find books.