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History Seminar Research Paper Guide: Background Information

Background Information

Background information can be found in:

  • class materials
  • textbooks
  • dictionaries
  • general encyclopedias
  • subject-specific encyclopedias  
  • databases

Background research serves many purposes.

  • If you are unfamiliar with the topic, it provides a good overview of the subject matter.
  • It helps you to identify important facts related to your topic -- terminology, dates, events, history, and names or organizations.
  • It can help you to refine your topic.
  • Background research might lead you to bibliographies that you can use to find additional sources of information on your topic.