Just starting a paper or project? Consider using an encyclopedia, dictionary, or handbook to help you:
Background information sources can be general or subject-specific, and often provide suggestions for further reading.
Subject-specific encyclopedias contain entries focusing on one field of study.
General encyclopedias provide overviews on a wide variety of topics.
Use an encyclopedia
Subject-specific dictionaries contain entries focusing on one field of study.
General dictionaries provide broad definitions on a wide variety of topics.
Use a dictionary
Handbooks are collections of information that provide quick answers particular to a specific field of study.
Use a handbook:
Wikipedia is a popular online encyclopedia, but it is not always considered an appropriate source for academic assignments.
Wikipedia is, however, an acceptable source to use as a starting point and for background information.
References and links provided at the end of each Wikipedia entry can lead you to credible and scholarly information elsewhere. Just be sure to evaluate the new site before using the information.