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If your instructor has told you that you can't use encyclopedias be sure to question that limitation to make sure he or she meant to restrict your use of scholarly subject encyclopedias. Because subject encyclopedias are a great resource for finding background information. You could think of them as books filled with detailed articles written by scholars in various disciplines that are like well-written research papers. They are not your average general encyclopedia, like World Book, that has brief articles on a wide variety of subjects.
Subject encyclopedias are:
Background research helps you identify the “who, what, when, why, where” information on your topic. Reference books and article databases offer useful topic overviews and usually include bibliographies leading you to more specific sources on your topic. Background research sources can begin to answer some of your research questions, and give you ideas of new questions to ask.
Conduct background research because: