IUCAT is Indiana University's online library catalog. Search it to find items held by the IU Libraries statewide, including books, government publications, journals, and other types of material.
Background Information & Books
Before you can start any research on your topic, you must have a background knowledge of it. Books and websites can provide you with that knowledge.
This is important because:
Background sources give you the language that people are using to discuss your topic. You will use this language when you start to search databases for scholarly articles and resources on the topic.
This "pre-research" gives you a sense if your topic is focused enough. If your initial searches bring back so many results you can't even figure out what the language is, then you should consider narrowing your topic.
Remember, background information is always a starting point for research, not an ending point.
Yes, it is OK to use Wikipedia for background information, but never cite to it. And only use it as a starting point.
Finding and using online sources
Using the internet for research is something we all do. It's your responsibility as a scholar to evaluate the information you find to be sure that it is credible and authoritative. Use the 'Evaluating Resources' page for guidance on how to choose appropriate sources or contact your instructor or librarian.
The links below are specific to the field of Composition/Writing.