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What is a background source?
Background sources are written for a general audience and are intended to give an overview of a topic, fill gaps in the reader’s knowledge, and provide context for deeper understanding. Examples include Wikipedia, introductory textbooks, and reference works such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks. They can be a useful place to start your research and can assist in selecting a topic for a research project, locating basic information and key facts, defining important words and concepts, and getting suggestions for additional sources to consult.
Typical characteristics of background sources:
- intended to be informative
- provide context, background, or summary information
- present shared information and established facts; information is uncontested
- offer suggestions for additional sources of information on the topic
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Handbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias in a wide range of subject areas, including Arts, Biography, Business, Education, Environment, History, Law, Literature, Medicine, Multicultural Studies, Nation and World, Religion, Science, and Social Sciences.
Hundreds of dictionaries, general reference, language reference, and subject reference works from Oxford University Press.
Large repository of harmonized datasets from a variety of sources, with global and time series coverage. Datasets allow complete access to datasets using customizable tables, graphs and maps, with numerous output formats available (Excel, PDF, delimited text, SAS, SPSS, XML, Shapefile GIS).
Guides, Encyclopedias & Handbooks
Guide to Economic Indicators by
Publication Date: 2006-03-15
Now revised and expanded, this widely-used desk reference provides quick and easy access to current and reliable data on the major statistical measures of the U.S. economy. The guide provides concise, jargon-free explanations of the meaning, use, and availability of more than 70 macroeconomic indicators, including websites, recent trends, and current data.
International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences by
Publication Date: 2007-11-01
Nine volumes that highlight the expanding influence of economics in social science research. Articles cover a wide array of global topics, including: achievement testing, censorship, personality measurement, aging, income distribution, foreign aid (political and economic aspects), food (world problems, consumption patterns), cultural adaptation, comparative health-care systems, terrorism, political correctness, agricultural innovation, legislation of morality, sexual violence and exploitation, white collar crime.