After choosing a general topic and identifying key words to try as search terms, find sources of background information. These provide a broader context and an overview of what is known about your topic. Reading background information gives you an idea of how much and what kind of information is available. It can also lead you to additional associated terms and keywords to use when searching for sources.
Overview information sources can be found in our General Reference Guide.
Remember these tips from MIT Libraries:
Think in broad terms
Check for background information in works like dictionaries, handbooks and encyclopedias
Look for facts in statistical guides, almanacs, biographical sources, and/or handbooks
Collect keywords, concepts, and relevant author names to use when searching databases
Look at bibliographies and notes to guide you to other sources of information
After learning more about your topic, narrow it. Use information you found to develop a research question. That is the question you will seek to answer in your research.
Next you will begin to Develop A Research Question.
MIT Libraries. (n.d.). Selecting a research topic: Background information & facts. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved from https://libguides.mit.edu/c.php?g=175961&p=1160088
Garrett-Tripp Library. (2019, January). How to do research: A step-by-step guide: Get started. Elmira College. Retrieved from https://libguides.elmira.edu/research