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Poritsky: Background Information

In-Class Worksheet

When writing a paper where you need to take a position on a "pro-con" issue, you will need to gather information to support your side of the argument. The resources listed in this course guide will lead you to: books; chapters in books; articles from journals, magazines, and newspapers; statistics; and public opinion polls.

If you have questions, contact me (or the Reference Desk) using the Help tab in this guide.

The purpose of this class is to become familiar with resources that give you opinions on your research topics.  Use this worksheet during the library session as we go over a few of the resources listed in this guide and save it to your H:\ drive for future reference.

Why use reference books?

Reference resources can be useful for gathering background information on a topic.  They can help you understand a topic you may not be familiar with, they can help you focus your research to a particular aspect of that topic, and the reference lists at the ends of encyclopedic articles can lead you to further sources of information.

A subject-specific encyclopedia (or encyclopedic set) is a single (or multi-volume) reference work that provides background information on a more specialized discipline.

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