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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
The databases below are most useful for finding reference-type information & sources: author bios, bibliographies, critical analyses, etc.
Literary Index provides quick and easy access to 130 literature products from Gale Group and the imprints Charles Scribner's Sons, St. James Press, and Twayne Publishers. These products contain complete biographies on authors and critical essays on their writings. NOTE: This is JUST an index; there is no full-text available in this database. Check OBIS or OhioLINK for access to titles.
Literary Reference Center Plus
Information on thousands of authors and works, including: plot summaries, synopses and work overviews; literary criticism; author biographies, interviews and images; and book reviews.
Full-text database that includes author biographies and work overviews, literary criticism, and indexed books, essays, and articles on world literature, and well as full-text of poems, short stories, novels, essays, speeches and plays.