This is the "Explore a Topic" page of the "Upper School Research Resources" guide.
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Upper School Research Resources  

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Explore a Topic Print Page

Explore a Topic Through Background Info

There's a good reason why Wikipedia is one of the most visited sites on the web: Wikipedia articles provide a concise overview of complex topics. Sometimes we don't need to read a whole book to get the background information we need. Instead, when you need to get the gist of something, it's a time-saving approach to look for a summative information source like Wikipedia to get a handle on a topic. Although handy, Wikipedia is typically not considered "academic" and would not stand up as an authoritative source in your classes.

Library encyclopedias are a great place to find authoritative sources that provide useful background infromation on a topic.  They can also be a great place to explore potential topics for a research paper.



View this video on picking a topic

Watch this video and reconsider your ideas about whether or not research is boring.  The "Research Interest Inventory" mentioned at the end of the video, will help you brainstorm ideas.

Direct link to video Making Research Interesting:


Sources for Finding General Information

When you're getting started on a new project, there are many different types of places you can look for general information about a topic.

Types of sources for general information include the following:

  • Wikipedia - a great starting point, but not recommended as a final source for acaedmic projects.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library - has lots of online encyclopedias that are like Wikipedia but better.  And you can cite them!
  • Britannica Online - a wonderful starting point by providing an introductory overviews of many topics.

Wikipedia Explained by Common Craft



The majority of this page was adapted from the Project Writing and Research E-Textbook guide found on Albertson Library's (Boise State University) LibGuides:


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