Find Background Information on your Topic

Background research helps develop a more effective topic as well as brainstorm for better search terms or keywords.

  • Your instructor is a great resource! They understand your assignment and can provide great advice about the topic and how to frame it. 
  • Talk to a librarian at the PSU library Reference Desk on the 2nd floor, or chat with a librarian at Ask a Librarian!
  • Journals related to the general area you are studying can be useful to look through for ideas and background information on possible topics. Browse Journals by Subject and search for your subject or discipline with keywords like "social work" or linguistics.
  • Reference materials like subject encyclopedias are useful for developing your topic and discovering keywords because they contain brief scholarly entries related to a discipline. 
  • Check the Subject Guides for reference books and scholarly subject encyclopedias about specific disciplines.