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Biological Sciences

Library and Internet resources for biology

The importance of finding background information

Background sources like encyclopedias can provide context for your topic, or even help you choose one. They are great places to start because:

  • they explain topics in simpler language than scholarly articles
  • they are much shorter (often just a just a page or two, instead of the 20 pages or more found in a scholarly article or the hundreds of pages found in a book)
  • they highlight important issues, figures, dates, and/or events that you may want to focus on in your paper or project
  • they give you suggested sources for further research in the form of bibliographies or works cited

Use these helpful links to gather some background information on a topic before you dig into doing serious research.  Having a better understanding of a topic will help improve your assignment. Log-in may be required from off-campus. Use your NetID and password.