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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.
Small Business Reference Center
Offers a wide variety of information on small business and entrepreneurial subject areas, common business types, a help and advice section, and provides information on how to create business plans that lead to successful funding. Business videos provide critical information for business owners: interviews, 'lessons learned' features, lectures and 'how to' videos help foster success in all aspects of managing a business. A collection of state-specific resources supports the researcher with demographic data and other local information.
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).
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. Equally useful for students, general readers, economists, analysts, journalists, and investors, 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.