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Social Work

What is background information?

Background information provides a general overview of and context for a research topic, event, or policy. It is a great place to find important vocabulary and concepts, relevant names of people or places, and dates of specific events. Data and statistics are also considered background information and can help determine things like prevalence. What these have in common is that they give you the big picture before you start digging into the scholarly research.

Finding good background information on a general topic can help you turn that topic into a Research Question, or narrow down a Research Question that is too broad.

They will also help you determine what vocabulary and background concepts you will need to identify relevant peer-reviewed sources in the databases and identify more specific areas of your topic that you may want to research further.

Encyclopedias

Data & Statistics

Try a scoped Google search to find statistical information on governmental website.

Exp. homelessness statistics site:gov

Google Web Search