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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

BIOS 251 Spring 2023

Background Information

It is important to have some general knowledge of your topic before delving further into your research! It will help you select a topic and provide a context for doing more specific or refined searching.

There are many sources of background information, some of which are below.

Throughout the course, you can return to these resources as you encounter technical terms or need to learn about facets of your topic. 

Background information resources

Reference resources can provide encyclopedia or other general background about concepts or methods, as well as definitions of concepts.  Some are listed below. 


To do a "precision" search in Google, search on google advanced search. This brings up the Google Advanced Search.


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.


See the criteria for evaluating web resources below.

Books can  be a great source of background information. 

You can look up books, whether print or electronic, in ASA, Lehigh's online catalog. See the search box.

Example of an electronic book that comes of: The brain and behavior: an introduction to behavior neuroantomy.

Scroll down to see link to the ebook.

Not finding a book at Lehigh? Try searching one of the two flavors of WorldCat available here.

Need to request a copy of a book that's not available at Lehigh? Use Palci in Interlibrary Loan to have books sent here. You will get an email when your book is ready for pickup. (Use 

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: