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Finding Background Information: Home

Video on finding background information using news sources.

Step by Step Instructions

Finding background information using news sources

  1. Go to and enter the topic you’re researching. Be sure to look for sources with name recognition like BBC News, NPR, and the New York Times. Read multiple articles to get a broad perspective of the issue.
  2. Go to a library database like EBSCO Academic Search Complete and enter your topic, then limit Source Type to Newspapers.

Finding background information using government documents

  1. Go to Google and enter your topic in the search bar.
  2. Click on Advanced Search under Settings and enter “.gov” in the Site or Domain field, then hit Search.

Finding background information using Wikipedia

  1. Go to and enter your research topic.
  2. Look through the article to find the most important aspects of that topic. Ask yourself what questions you still have after reading the article.
  3. Look at the citations at the end of the article and follow these to additional sources.

Finding background information using the library

  1. Go to the University Libraries homepage and enter your research topic in the search box at the top of the page, followed by the word encyclopedia. For example, if you’re researching gender representations in film, you might search for “gender encyclopedia” or “film encyclopedia”.
  2. Browse the results to find a relevant title, then check out the Description and Contents to see if the encyclopedia will be helpful for your research.

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