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Education: Background Information

A general guide for Education resources.

Why background Information?

Finding basic information about your topic helps you to understand the broader context of your research.  This is particularly important at the beginning of your research if you are unfarmliar with your topic or uncertain how to narrow the focus of the subject.

Background information can supply: 

  1. Broad overview
  2. Main concepts
  3. Major dates and events
  4. Definitions of terms associated with the topic
  5. Names of people who are authorities in the subject field
  6. Keywords and subject-specific vocabulary terms that can be used for database searches
  7. Bibliographies that lead to additional resources


Types of resouces for background information :  Encyclopedias, Guides, Handbooks, Manuals, etc.  

Print Titles

A sampling of print books one would find when searching the online catalog by  the subjects Education or Effective Teaching or Teaching--Handbooks, Manuals, etc. for background information.  To find additional titles, use the EAGLIT.

CQ Researcher (Hot Topics)

CQ Researcher is often the first source that librarians recommend when researchers are seeking original, comprehensive reporting and analysis on issues in the news. Founded in 1923 as Editorial Research Reports, CQ Researcher is noted for its in-depth, coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the economy. Reports are published in print and online 44 times a year by CQ Press, an imprint of SAGE Publications.

Each single-themed, 12,000-word report is researched and written by a seasoned journalist. The consistent, reader-friendly organization provides researchers with an introductory overview, which includes three pro-con debates; a background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; a pro/con debate by representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources.

Credo Electronic Reference Collection

Online access to a collection of online reference materials covering a wide array of subjects.  (Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Handbooks, Guides, etc.)

Provides online reference from digitized reference sources. Searchable by reference source, by subject, or across all sources. Includes a concept mapping function to assist in broadening or narrowing searches. Reliable, reputable reference sources. Citation assistance is available for the most popular formats.


Electronic Reference Collection by Gale

Online access to a collection of online reference materials covering a variety of subjects.  (Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Handbooks, Guides, etc.)