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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

EES 200 Earth History Spring 2020

Background Information

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

There are many ways to obtain 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. 

Library Reference Resources

Google Searching--some tips


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


Publicly accessible websites vary greatly in reliability. This guide from South Mountain Community College provides a good explanation about how to evaluate websites.


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 about the  Reliability of Wikipedia.

Books as a source of background information

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.

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 ILLiad for articles, or if you don't find a book in Palci.)