Wikipedia is a great place to START. Use Wikipedia to find background information as well as keywords to search for in academic databases. Follow the reference lists and links to find primary sources, books, and other academic sources.
Google search for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports on all topic areas. Use to find articles from academic publishers, professional societies, prepublication repositories and universities.
Coverage: Varies Full Text: Yes
While gathering general information and facts...
Make a list of keywords and add to this list as you find more
Follow up on relevant authors, researchers, expert
Gather statistical information to build scope and impact of problem
Consider all perspectives: historic, economic, social, political, etc.
Filter & Follow Up
Scan results: Use subject headings, keywords, and phrases from your search results to refine your keyword searches.
Scrutinize article titles, number of pages, and journal title.
Browse promising abstract and conclusion sections of long studies.
Bibliographies can clue you in on the value of the article as well.
Find an interesting author? Search for more articles by that author.
Notice an agency, association or expert mentioned in an article? Follow up.