HI 2402: History of Evolutionary Thought

Prof. C. Clark

Background Research

Finding background information on your topic is always the recommended starting point, especially if you are unfamiliar with the topic or not sure what angle or perspective you are going to take.

Some of the information that you might want to try to find as part of a background search includes:

  • Broad overview of the topic, including important dates and events 
  • Identifying and defining discipline-specific jargon. NOTE: these terms that can then be used as search terms!
  • Introduction to current key issues/debates 
  • Names of people who are authorities/experts/leaders in a given field or research area
  • Bibliographies and citation lists that could lead to additional research resources

There are a variety of resources that can provide background information, including reference materials, such as subject-specific encyclopedias and dictionaries, books, government websites, and NGO websites.

General Encyclopedias

Below are peer-reviewed encyclopedias and general reference collections that you can use to start your background research AND you can cite (unlike Wikipedia)