Answered By: Ellie Dworak
Last Updated: Jul 14, 2022     Views: 235

How do I get background Info from an Encyclopedia?

If you don’t know a lot about the topic you’ve been assigned to research crack open an Encyclopedia to find background information. There are a couple of ways to find an encyclopedia.

First, Wikipedia is the most used encyclopedia in the world. If you’re really lost start with Wikipedia to find search terms, more sources and background information. Wikipedia is editable by anyone on the internet, so it is not necessarily a credible source for your papers, but it can provide a starting point in understanding and developing keywords to use in library databases and searching for other sources.

Boise State has a ton of encyclopedias in electronic and physical form.  To access the online encyclopedias start at the Online Reference Tools.

This will take you to a guide with a list of Encyclopedias.  Gale Virtual Reference is a great database for encyclopedias, because you can search more than one encyclopedia.

Gale Ebooks link

Open up the database and enter your search into the search box. You should get results from multiple encyclopedias all of which are sources you can cite in your papers. When you click on a source you can print, email or download it from the website. The citation information is also available.

Results list in Gale EBooks for Mustard

Students, faculty, and staff can access the online encyclopedias 24/7. Physical encyclopedias are located in the library. Many are on the first floor in the reference collection, though some are located on the 2nd-4th floors. 


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