SOC 3002 - Introduction to Social Research

Tertiary Sources/Background Information

There are many types of background materials: encyclopedias (both general and subject specific), handbooks, and bibliographies.

Why uses a background source? It can save you time by helping you with the groundwork below:

  • Get an overview of a new or complex topic
  • Find out the names of key players in a given area
  • Locate terms that you can use in your research
  • Help narrow (or expand) your topic
  • Locate a bibliography of sources to help you start your research.


To locate an encyclopedia, try the sample search in using the advanced search option in Library Catalog as shown below

To locate a bibliography

To locate a handbook