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The Research Process: Step-by-Step

This guide walks you through the steps of the research process

Purpose of Background Research

Once you have identified some key terminology, the next step is to find background information on your topic. Background research serves many purposes.

  • If you are unfamiliar with the topic, it provides a good overview of the subject matter.
  • It helps you to identify important facts related to your topic -- terminology, dates, events, history, and names or organizations.
  • It can help you to refine your topic.
  • Background research might lead you to bibliographies that you can use to find additional sources of information on your topic.

Click here to learn more about background information and why it is so important to successful research. 

Sources of Background Information

Background information can be found in:

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

These sources are often listed on the Find Books or Find Articles tabs of our research guides.

You can browse a complete list of the Library's guides by visiting the research guides homepage.

Tip!

If you can't find an encyclopedia, dictionary or textbook article on your topic, try using broader keywords or ask a librarian for help.

For example, if your topic is Global Warming, consider searching for an encyclopedia on the environment.

Contact a Campus:

478-471-2709 for the Macon campus library | 478-934-3179 for the Roberts Memorial Library at the Cochran campus | 478-275-6772 for the Dublin campus library

478-374-6833 for the Eastman campus library | 478-929-6804 for the Warner Robins campus library | On the Go? Text-A-Librarian: 478-285-4898

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