Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

EES 90 Exploration of Inner Space Fall 2021

Prof. McDermott

Background Information

It helps to read background information to understand the main concepts or jargon used in scholarly articles you read for the class.

There are many resources (encyclopedias, dictionaries, Wikipedia used judiciously, etc.) to identify background information sources that help you with this. Some the library pays for, others you can find on the open web.

Scroll through below to see various resources related to finding background information.

Specific Resources for Background Information

Elsevier Reference Works (and books)

There are various ways to search this extensive collection:

  • Click here. Click on the magnifying glass at the top (to the right of the text "journals and books". A box will open where you can search by your topic. Then, on the left, you can restrict by "Article type", for example encyclopedia.
  • Use the Topic Pages.

OTHER SOURCES . . .

The resources below provide valuable backround information. You can also use Wikipedia, which can serve as a stepping stone to discovering academic resources. *Often wikipedia has useful links listed at the bottom of an article.* You will of course have to confirm independently information you find in Wikipedia. Here is a detailed guide about Wikipedia. For discussion of its reliability, see this Wikipedia article titled Reliability of Wikipedia.

Using Advanced Google Search to Find Background Information

You can use Google to find background information.

Use the Google Advanced Search, to do a precise search. Make sure to evaluate critically the webpages that come up for reliability. The resource below provides ideas about how to evaluate websites.

Evaluating Web Resources

Web resources can be rich sources of information on a topic, but when conducting research, it's important to consider the quality and accuracy of sites you visit on the open web. Use the CRAPP test to determine whether a web resource is trustworthy: 

 

Wikipedia

Wikipedia can be a valuable source of background information and a stepping stone to discovering academic resources. *Often wikipedia has useful links listed at the bottom of an article.*

You will of course have to confirm independently information you find in Wikipedia.

Here is a detailed guide about Wikipedia. For information about the reliability of Wikipedia, see this Wikipedia article.

Books & Ebooks

To discover books and ebooks, go to ASA, the search engine near the top of the library homepage at http://library.lehigh.edu.  To limit to ebooks, see the filter on the right of the search results. Print books will have the location in the library indicated. Lehigh uses the Dewey Decimal System.

Example of an ebook: Genes: A Very Short Introduction

You can find books that Lehigh does not own by going to WorldCat, which comes in two flavors.

Review Articles

Journal articles that provide reviews of literature are a really important source of background information.

See here for more information.

Electronic Reference

Elsevier Reference Works (and books)

There are various ways to search this extensive collection:

  • Click here. Click on the magnifying glass at the top (to the right of the text "journals and books". A box will open where you can search by your topic. Then, on the left, you can restrict by "Article type", for example encyclopedia.
  • Use the Topic Pages.

OTHER SOURCES: