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Background Materials: Find Background Material

Start here if you need to educate yourself about your topic, there's always a place for background resources: stats, definitions, encyclopedias.

Start Here!

Stumped on where to start finding information on your topic? 

Encyclopedias, general and specialized, are a great way to help you gather background information about your topic.  

Dictionaries

Dictionaries are a good place to find the quick definition of your topic or keyword.  Sometimes these definitions help to identify other keywords or related topics.  

Here are some examples of dictionaries avaliable at Viterbo.  You can find more by searching the library database.

LC Subject Headings Example - Catalog

LC Subject Headings Example

Identifying Keywords for Your Topic

Use the resources below to find keywords, related words, and the subject headings for your topic. 

For more information on identifying keywords see the Research Process guide.

Recommendation - Subject Headings

Look up your topic in the Library of Congress Subject Headings.

Subject Headings are standardized terms to use for searching the library catalog.  These allow for better search results and can also be a good starting point to find more/related keywords for searching.

While you are searching for your topic watch for symbols that indicate Broader, Narrower or Related Topics.
Pay attention to the Used for and See also terms as well.

 * Another way to do this is to look for the "Subjects" under the Description tab of a item record.  Clicking on a subject will bring up results of other items with that same subject.  This is easy to do if you have one good source already.

This will help you develop a set of terms you to use later in the research process.  It is also a time for brainstorming if you are still not certain what your topic might be.

 

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