You should become familiar with the language used and background information on your topic. A great way to do this is by looking in a reference source. Reference sources such as encyclopedias (including Wikipedia), dictionaries, and atlases can help you understand your topic by giving you definitions, stating key persons in that field, and providing lists of additional resources. Once you have a better understanding of your topic, it will be easier to put together search terms to find relevant materials.
Many instructors frown upon using Wikipedia to cite as a source because it can be edited by anyone and is constantly being edited. However, it is a great place to start your research to become familiar with your topic, find additional resources, and learn the language of that topic.
Below is a list of items to consider when learning more about your subject:
A good reference resource to use besides Wikipedia is Gale E-books.
Gale offers an array of literary databases that includes author biographies, literary criticism, and much more. Use the Gale Literature CrossSearch feature to search the largest three together, or search one at a time. Look carefully at the descriptions of each database, choose the one that seems best for your purpose, and if at first you don't succeed, try a different one.
JSTOR (Arts and Sciences I, II, and III) offers peer-reviewed scholarly journals as well as respected literary journals, academic monographs, research reports from trusted institutions, and primary sources. For the humanities, sciences, and social sciences.
Academic Search Complete is a large general database holding scholarly journals, professional journals, reports and magazines in the social sciences, the humanities, and general sciences.
Watch this short video for tips on focusing your database searches.
During COVID, physical books aren't available, but we have over 70,000 e-books for you to use. Just look for this "Available Online" tag. If you want to learn more, take a look at the video below.