Reference -- dictionary and encyclopedia -- resources are an excellent place to begin research because they provide background information about a subject.
Checking reference resources first will help you
- get an overview of the subject.
- note key concepts/developments.
- identify significant individuals.
- see a chronology/timeline.
- discern connections/interrelationships with other developments.
- develop a list of search terms.
- find bibliographies -- sources for more information.
The library has thousands of reference resources both in print and online. The collections in the list below are often good starting points.
AND encyclopedias and dictionaries that are specific to the discipline in which your subject falls. You can find these by doing a catalog search for [YOUR SUBJECT] AND [ENCYCLOPEDIA* OR DICTIONAR*]
More reference resources are noted in the library research guides for specific disciplines (Chemistry, Occupational Therapy, etc.) Look for "Reference" in the menu on the left.