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English Language & Literature: Background Information

Getting Started

Overview sources are great tools with which to begin a research project. They may be helpful for obtaining a general overview of a subject, and they may also help in the narrowing of research topics and in placing a topic in the proper context.

Some sources, such as subject dictionaries, will provide an introduction to the specific language of a subject or discipline. Sources may cover a fairly broad subject area -- such as World History -- or a subject limited to a specific time period, nation, culture, or topic.

Entries will often include a bibliography, and they may reference additional related books, articles, documents, and other useful sources.

Search Tips

Look for encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books with keyword searches in the library catalog by adding the term "encyclopedia" or "dictionary" to the keyword search.

Dictionaries

Dictionaries define words and terms. They often also provide the pronunciation and etymology. Subject dictionaries will give the meaning of a word within a specific field or discipline, such as

Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias provide a basic understanding or overview of entries. Subject encyclopedias include

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