Background Information

Gathering background information will help you to place a research topic in the proper context and to decide whether to narrow, broaden, or otherwise change the focus. Background information may be available via sources such as the following:

  • Textbook for the course, cited references in the textbook, and other course materials provided or recommended by professor.
  • Subject dictionaries and encyclopedias. Each major discipline has its own specialized encyclopedias and other reference sources. These provide entries ranging from a paragraph to several pages on particular topics from the point of view of the discipline. Longer entries include their own list of recommended resources on the topic. Such sources are available for all major areas of the CBA curriculum; some are in print, some are online. Here are two examples; CBA-related library user guides list more. They also can be identified by doing a UNISTAR Keyword search for the word encyclopedia and the name of the discipline, as in encyclopedia and finance.

    Survey of Social Sciences. Economics Series
    UNI Reference HB61 S94

    Encyclopedia of White-Collar and Corporate Crime

  • Statistics related to a topic may be available in various sources. The Statistical Abstract of the United States provides data on a wide range of subjects. Depending on the topic, it may necessary to consult additional sources of economics, industrial, and other statistical data.