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Human Service Work-General

Background Information

After you've chosen a topic to research, you will need to search for information that will introduce you to the topic. Background sources provide you with:

Important dates or events; definitions; keywords; introduction to main issues; list of sources to start research

Background Sources

Background sources, also known as reference sources, include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, directories, and other online or print "books". You might want to consult one or more of them when you're first starting your research, especially if the topic you are researching is unfamiliar to you. They can be excellent sources of factual information, concepts, theories, definitions, terminology and references to other, more in-depth, sources of information.

See example of a handbook below. 

General Encyclopedias

Using Internet Sources - A place to start but not to finish

Using Google to start your research process is a good way to get general information quickly.  You can use websites, blogs, and Wikipedia to get general ideas about a topic, and to help frame your research strategy.  

However, the problem with internet sources is that it's difficult to verify the information. Starting your research on Google is fine, but use the library resources to complete your search! 

Tips for using Wikipedia

1) Use the "Reference" section at the bottom to see where the information came from.  These may be quality sources you can use for your research.

2) Scroll through the page to find key people and concepts (which may be highlighted links).  These can be used as search terms and additional exploring.

3) Use highlighted links to jump to related pages, to help give you a sense of the bigger picture.

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