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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Data for Impact Summer Institute: Background research

Resources for Background Research

TUTORIAL

This tutorial explains 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.
  • Send an email to a subject librarian

CONTENTS BELOW

  • Publication Type Table--Background Information Sources
  • Resources about Review Articles
  • Resources about Review Articles
  • Using Advanced Google Search to Find Background Information 
  • Evaluating Web Resources 
  • Popular Articles
  • Scholarly versus Popular Articles

Publication Type Table--Background Information Sources

Resources about Review Articles

WHAT IS A REVIEW ARTICLE?

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.

HOW TO WRITE A REVIEW ARTICLE

How to Look up Ebooks

 

TUTORIAL ABOUT HOW TO LOOK UP ELECTRONIC BOOKS

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

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.)

Scholarly versus Popular Articles

Read Evaluating resources: Scholarly & Popular Sources from Berkeley, U Cal.

Quickly look over below, as well.