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Background sources

Background sources can help you gain a basic understanding of the larger conversation surrounding your topic before you dive into more detailed research and can provide an overview of the important issues, ideas, or concepts surrounding your research question. News Sources: How do I find news sources? Search Google News or limit to Newspapers in EBSCO Academic. How do I use news sources? Look for sources with name recognition like BBC News, NPR, and the New York Times. Read a few different articles to get a broad perspective of the issue. Ask yourself: What are the most important aspects or issues of this topic? What details are missing? What questions need to be answered? Government Sources: How do I find government sources? Use Google’s Advanced Search and put “.gov” in the Domain field. How do I use government sources? Use government sources to find reliable data, statistics, and reports on your topic. Ask yourself: What government agencies might provide relevant information on your topic? Explore their websites. What are the limitations of the information? How current is it? Can you find more recent data? Wikipedia: How do I find Wikipedia? www.wikipedia.org. How do I use Wikipedia? Read the article for a detailed overview of your topic. Check out the cited sources to find more reliable information. Ask yourself: What are the most important aspects of the topic highlighted in the article? What’s left out of the article? What is being discussed on the article’s Talk page? Library Resources: How do I find and use library resources? Search the library catalog at library.louisville.edu for books and encyclopedias on your topic. For example, search "film encyclopedia" if you want to find background information for your research in film studies. Click All Databases A-Z, then select CQ Research to find background articles written & fact-checked by professional journalists covering both sides of an issue. Next Steps: After you’ve collected background information on your topic, ask yourself: How does this background information focus my research question? Which library subject guides (library.louisville.edu/subjects) and databases might help me explore my research question more in-depth? What kinds of sources do I need to find next? Scholarly journal articles? Primary sources? Begin exploring and Ask a Librarian if you have questions!

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