Background research is the research that you do before you start writing your paper or working on your project. Sometimes background research happens before you've even chosen a topic.
Some reasons to do background research include:
Doing background research helps you choose a topic that you'll be happy with and develop a sense of what research you'll need to do in order to successfully complete your assignment. It will also help you plan your research and understand how much time you'll need to dedicate to understanding and exploring your topic.
Trying to learn about a new topic, or need help narrowing a research topic? These two reference databases are filled with encyclopedia-style entries to get you started.
Credo contains over 3 million full-text entries alongside thousands of easily searchable images, audio files, and videos. In includes access to hundreds of in-depth titles covering every major subject from current Social Issues to Ancient History and Shakespeare to Einstein.
Below is a mindmap Credo created from my search history. It points me to related topics, which may be useful for choosing a topic, or narrowing the focus of your research.
Oxford Reference is the premier online reference product, spanning 25 different subject areas, bringing together 2 million digitized entries across Oxford University Press’s Dictionaries, Companions and Encyclopedias. As you browse through Oxford Reference, you may find results that range from short-entry, general reference to more in-depth articles on specialized subjects. For an overview of each subject on Oxford Reference use the links in the left-hand pane.
Need help choosing a topic for a debate or speech? These are a great place to start.
Find overviews, news, and opinions on hundreds of today's important social issues. Great for exploring topics for a debate or speech.
Reports on hot topics in politics, business, government, law enforcement, energy, education, health, science, foreign policy, race, human rights, society, and culture are updated weekly. Another great resource for exploring topics for a debate or speech.
Adapted from Butler, W. D., Sargent, A., Smith, K.(2021).Introduction to College Research. https://introtocollegeresearch.pressbooks.com/