When you begin researching, consulting a reference book (like an encyclopedia or handbook) to get an overview of the topic is often quicker and easier than trying to gather background information from various articles and websites.
Reference books can provide definitions, descriptions and explanations and identify keywords and terms for searching for articles in databases or for books in the Catalog about the topic.
Entries in reference books often include a list of sources for further reading. In the early stages of your research, tracking down these cited sources will lead you to relevant books and articles and save you time.
Illinois State University
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