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Research Process: A Step-By-Step Guide: 1d. Find Background Information

A guide to help you through the steps of the research process. This guide is modeled after a guide created by the librarians at Johnson & Wales University.

Sources of Background Information

Background information can be found in:

  • textbooks
  • dictionaries
  • general encyclopedias
  • subject-specific encyclopedias 
  • article databases

Use the sources listed on the Academy of Art Library's subject guides.

 

Dictionaries

Purpose of Background Research

Once you have identified some keywords, the next step is to find background information on your topic. Background research:

  • Provides a good overview of the topic if you are unfamiliar with it.
  • Helps identify important facts -- terminology, dates, events, history, organizations, etc.
  • Can help refine your topic.
  • Leads to bibliographies which provide additional sources of information.

Encyclopedias