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:
Family relationships and internet technologies:
Sherry Turkle expresses real concern that internet-based technologies are undermining our family relationships. Is this true? Your goal is to thoroughly examine Turkle's claim by performing independent scholarly research (finding out what other credible authors argue about this topic) and by conducting interviews of your own.
Plan on discussing 1-2 scholarly sources in addition to Turkle, and conducting 2-3 interviews with people willing to speak with you about how the internet affects their family relationships. You will craft this research into an essay in which you give background on what other scholars have written, and then show how evidence from your own interviews confirms, undermines, questions, or advances the claims these other scholars have made.
Based on your evidence, what have other scholars gotten right? What have they gotten wrong? And what does your evidence show—are internet technologies really damaging family relationships? See the Sample Outline at the end of this handout for more guidance!