Reference resources for background, vocabulary, and context
The Reference Collection and the reference librarians in the library are one of the best places to start a research project. The librarians will help you maximize your time and the reference collection can help you find information quickly.
The online Oxford Reference Collection gives you access to over 100 subject encyclopedias and dictionaries that are useful for figuring out your research topic. With them you can move from a broad topic to a more focused topic, learn specialized vocabulary and background information.
The online Gale Virtual Reference Library gives you access to over 50 encyclopedias and handbooks on subjects ranging from ancient Europe, to business plans, to the weather almanac.
Resources on specific topics: great for starting your research
CQ Researcher is a unique kind of reference source that gives you background on controversial issues and explains the points-of-view of opposing sides.
Contemporary World Issues is an online book series you can find in SearchIt. The topics covered in CWI are in-depth overviews, which cite great scholarly sources. They also have good glossaries and excellent indexes for finding things fast.
Opposing Viewpoints is another online books series. It provides essays that offer a point and counterpoint on specific issues. Use SearchIt to find these books.