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Psychology: Topic Background Information

Helpful resources for students doing research in the area of psychology, especially the WRIT II 201, Research Writing course

Psychology Librarian

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Nathan Sonnenschein
Library 219
Subjects: Art, Business, Psychology

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 page or two instead of 20 pages or more found in a scholarly article or hundreds of ages 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 some serious research. Having a better understanding of a topic will help improve your assignment. Log-in may be required when using some resources form off-campus. Use your NetID and password. Call the library if you have any problems at 406-657-1662.


Understanding periodical types

Watch this video to learn more about the different types of periodicals that you may encounter when doing your research.