English 102 (Cain): Background Research

Library Introduction

Background Research

Conduct background research because:

  • It is a great source of core knowledge on your topic
  • It can generate ideas on different ways to focus your topic
  • It can answer research questions you've already posed
  • It may help you clarify and/or expand research questions.
  • It often points you towards other sources of information on your topic (bibliographies)

Tips for Getting Started!

1. Start by looking around you. Are there any conversations you've been part of or overheard lately that peaked your interest in a topic? Do some quick Google searches to see what people are saying and writing about your topic. Keep track of specific ideas, concepts, or issues that seem interesting.

2. Don't try to do your research in one sitting. You need to stop and read about your topic and learn about its context. Start by reading general news sources (often available for free on the web).

3. Follow leads. News articles will often mention studies or other sources of information. Follow these leads and look at the research that the journalists are using to learn about the topic.Get help from a librarian if you need to track down any of these sources of information.

CQ Researcher

Databases Off-Campus

Username and Password Screen

To access databases off campus, you enter your W number as your username (begin with a CAPITAL W).  Your password is: the first two letters of your first name, the first two letters of your last name, and the last FOUR digits of your W Number.  To learn more, take this tutorial (you will need Flash):

How to Get into Databases Off Campus

If you still have problems getting in, take this tutorial:

What to Do if You STILL Cannot Get into Databases Off Campus