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Thistutorialexplains the importance of using background information resources when doing research, before you start your research and then as you go along in your research and encounter new concepts or terminology. It discusses examples of these resources and techniques for finding them.
FOR FURTHER HELP
See resources in boxes below.
For help identifying background information resources, look for a library guide related to your research. We have them for many subjects. You can explore them here.
You might want to read over the following so you get an idea as to how to synthesize literature for your summer project.
HOW TO LOCATE REVIEW ARTICLES
Some databases that enable one to limit search results to review articles are Web of Science and PubMed. Annual Reviews is a database that enables you to search for review articles in a wide range of fields. Contact a librarian to identify other sources of review articles.
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 CRAP test to determine whether a web resource is trustworthy:
Popular articles can:
provide general background information before you turn to academic journal literature [for distinction between scholarly and popular articles, see next box]
point to academic studies that are getting lots of attention; a newspaper or magazine or other popular publication may give a journalistic account of a scientific research project, mention its principal researchers, and mention the academic journal in which the research was published.
A few of the available databases for popular articles are as follows. (The first actually also lets you search scholarly articles too.)
Nexis Uni™ features more than 15,000 news, business and legal sources from LexisNexis®—including U.S. Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1790—with an intuitive interface that offers quick discovery across all content types, personalization features such as Alerts and saved searches and a collaborative workspace with shared folders and annotated documents.
Thousands of sources, primarily in English but some foreign language news as well.