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Library Research Tutorial

How Background Reading Helps

Background reading enables you to fine-tune the goals of your research project and point you in useful directions for further information gathering. Background reading can help you:

  • Investigate a topic that is unfamiliar to you
  • Identify significant concepts and their context within your topic
  • Determine the scope of your research
    • Getting an overview of a subject can often help you decide on whether your topic is too broad or too narrow
  • Identify the important names, dates, and terms associated with your topic
    • Understanding the who, what, where, when, and why of your topic will provide context for your own searches
  • Identify topic authorities (eg. experts, scientists, academics) 
    • Checking the lists of works cited in your background readings can direct you to relevant resources for further reading and research

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