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IND101/301: Cornerstone Foundations & Pathways

Finding Background Information

Familiarize yourself with some background information so you are prepared to write about your topic. Background information includes overviews, encyclopedia articles, eBook chapters, etc.

Wikipedia is a common source of background information for daily life purposes. However, it is not appropriate for academic research. Credo Reference and other scholarly alternatives to Wikipedia are listed on the Background Information guide.

Here's how to get started:

  1. Spend a few minutes brainstorming synonyms that could be used to describe your topic.
  • For example, if your topic is the "death penalty" then you will also want to search for "capital punishment".
  • For help with brainstorming, check out our Brainstorming infographic
  1. The librarians recommend beginning your search in the Credo Reference database, which searches hundreds of encyclopedias and dictionaries for background information. Search tips:
  • Use quotation marks around phrases of two or more words to tell the database to search for these words where they appear right next to one another.
  • Use the word OR between synonyms and like-terms to tell the database to retrieve sources that use either search term.
  • These and other techniques for improving your search are described on the Search Tips tutorial.

Here's an example of how to enter related search terms into the Credo search box:

The terms "death penalty" OR "capital punishment" inside the Credo search box

  1. After reading some background information on your topic, again, take a few minutes to brainstorm important keywords and phrases that can be incorporated into your search strategy as you move forward.
  2. Let's move on to the next page, Searching OneSearch.