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Topic Background Sources
Encyclopedias and other reference sources can provide basic information to help you understand your topic better:
Allows you to search for articles from over 600 different electronic reference books and also works as a gateway to a very wide array of other information sources, including images, audio and video. It is a really excellent place to begin research with 'Topic Pages' offering authoritative overviews and a Mind Map feature to assist in narrowing and focusing research and identifying keywords for database searching.
Provides the full text of over 200 subject encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, and directories.
Oxford Reference Online
A collection containing over 120 dictionaries and reference titles covering a broad spectrum of subjects from general reference and language to science and medicine, and from humanities and social sciences to business and professional.
Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia and can be a useful source for background information. Because it is open to any author(s), quality can vary depending on the topic.
Google Advanced Search
Google advanced search can help with finding reports and white papers. Try searching for your topic using .org or .gov limiters.