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ENG W270: Argumentative Writing

Beyond Wikipedia - Finding Background Information

Once you have a research question and some keywords, the next step is to explore the topic. This step is important because it will build your knowledge, you'll discover possible new avenues for your research, you'll pick up the jargon of the discipline(s) you are working with and start to gather keywords and other search terms.

The library has a Reference section on Level 2 that you can browse. However, materials on different topics are located throughout the library, so you may prefer to start with our electronic reference databases. "Reference" is a library term for materials like encyclopedias that have quick answers. Think of Wikipedia, for example. The links below will take you to some of our academic reference databases:

You can also use Wikipedia to gather information. As the graphic above shows, you can use it as a starting place, but don't end up there; your professors typically prefer that you do not cite Wikipedia as a source.