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English Library Guide

Use this curated list of resources to support your scholarship in cultural studies, language, and literature at Tulane University.

Reference Sources for Background Information

Focus Your Topic

Have a topic of interest? Now, focus it into a researchable question. 

  • Brainstorm. Identify related issues, people, or events.
  • List what you already know and what you need or want to know.
  • Determine what perspective will you take.
  • Determine a geographic region and/or time period on which to focus.

Do preliminary reading or background research. Reference materials like encyclopedias provide background information, help you discover important authors and titles in your field, and learn the vocabulary you need to find additional resources. 

Academic research is a process with many steps and is almost never linear. You will often go back to earlier steps as you read, write, and ask new questions. 

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