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Introduction to Research

Find Background Information

Before searching the catalog and our articles databases, it can be helpful to get a broad overview of your topic in an online encyclopedia or dictionary. These can be found in one of the background resources below:

Background Resources

Credo Reference

Credo Reference

Articles from encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sources from all subject areas. Includes images, audio pronunciation files, maps, and data tables.

Gale Ebooks

Gale Ebooks

Collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries and handbooks covering a variety of subject areas.

Oxford Reference Online

Oxford Reference Online

Articles from encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sources from all subject areas. Includes quotations, maps, and illustrations.

Background Resources for Controversial Topics

These databases are great starting place if your topic is controversial  in nature:

Controversial Issues Databases

Opposing Viewpoints

Opposing Viewpoints

Topic overviews, contrasting viewpoints, articles, primary source documents, statistics, videos, and recommended websites.

CQ Researcher

CQ Researcher

Analytical reports on controversial issues from 1991 to the present. Includes background, chronology, tables and maps, and pro/con statements.